He views everything with suspicion today. The news in the paper, the ads on TV. Was the government really going to buy up bad assets? Would the new detergent really make his clothes whiter? Everything he hears seems a potential hoax. Everywhere he looks he senses an undercurrent of laughter, waiting to burst out.
And it isn't just the media, either. Everyone is implicated - his co-workers, his friends, his family - anyone and everyone could be lying to him, leading him on. His boss's praise, the baby pictures the girl in accounting shows him, the e-mail from his parents - how can he be sure that any of this is true? No, he must doubt everything. Only then will he escape being fooled.
But what if these things are true? What if he expects a retraction and it never comes? Would he be fooling himself then?
And if these things can be doubted then why only today? Why not some other day? Why not everyday? Has he been gullible all year? Or is he just being paranoid?
Back in his apartment, sitting down to a drink at the end of the day, he allows himself to relax. He has done it, he has escaped being tricked. Tomorrow he can go back to life as usual, unafraid to believe what he is told.
But what if no one had been out to get him anyway? What if no one had considered him worth playing a prank on? What if they thought him too boring, too staid, to be worth making a fool? Wouldn't that be the worst joke of all?