A very wealthy man, old and desperately ill, summons to his bedside his three closest advisors: his doctor, his priest, and his lawyer.
I know, he says, they say ‘you can’t take it with you.’ But who knows? Suppose they’re mistaken. I’d like to have something with me, just in case. So I am giving each of you an envelope containing one hundred thousand dollars and I would be grateful if at my funeral you would put the envelopes in my coffin, so that if it turns out that it’s useful, I’ll have something.
They each agree to carry out his wish.
Sure enough, after just a few weeks, the old man passes away. At his funeral, each of the three advisors is seen slipping something into the coffin.
After the burial, as the three are walking away together, the doctor turns to the other two and says, -Friends, I have a confession to make. As you know, at the hospital we are desperate because of the cutbacks in funding. Our CAT SCAN machine broke down and we haven’t be able to get a new one. So, I took $20,000 of our friend’s money for a new CAT SCAN and put the rest in the coffin as he asked.
At this the priest says, I, too have a confession to make. As you know, our church is simply overwhelmed by the problem of the homeless. The needs keep increasing and we have nowhere to turn. So I took $50,000 from the envelope for our homeless fund and put the rest in the coffin as out friend requested.
Fixing the other two in his gaze, the lawyer says, I am astonished and deeply disappointed that you would treat so casually our solemn undertaking to our friend. I want you to know that I placed in his coffin my personal check for the full one hundred thousand dollars.
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