Example: [Healey & Glanvill, 1996]
A friend of a friend worked in a hospice where two elderly bed-ridden men shared a room. One of them had a bed next to a window, and would sit and describe in loving detail to his friend the children playing in the sunshine, the dogs loping in the park and any really nasty street fights. Though he loved the descriptions, the other chap soon became sick with jealousy.
This went on for months, until one night the man by the window suddenly groaned and called to his pal, "Ooh, you've got to ring for help, I don't think I'll last the night." The other fellow reached for the alarm, but then thought, "If he goes, I'll get the bed by the window." So he lay back and ignored the moaning.
Sadly, in the morning staff found the poor old bloke stiff as a board, but they reassured his pal that they'd soon have some more company for him. "I must have the bed next to the window!" he snapped. The nurses explained it would be easier if he stayed put, but he angrily insisted. So they lifted him to the other bed. Expectantly, he levered himself up and peered through the window - to see a solid brick wall.
Origins: The plot of this "legend," originally a short story penned by Allan Seager and published under the title "The Street" in Vanity Fair magazine in
101 Plots Used and Abused summarizes the tale thusly:
For those who might care to read the original version, it was included in Seager's 1950 shory story collection, The Old Man of the Mountain and Seventeen Other Stories.
Barbara "yet another disappointed windows user" Mikkelson
Last updated: 11 March 2007
Healey, Phil and Rick Glanvill. Now! That's What I Call Urban Myths. London: Virgin Books, 1996. ISBN 0-86369-969-3 (pp. 28-29). Young, James. 101 Plots Used and Abused. Boston: The Writer, Inc., 1946 (p. 53)