"He's not Diseased, he simply doesn't like you," said a cheerful old man sitting in a rocking chair on his front porch.
"What reason would the dang dog have to dislike me?" replied another old man, who looked much less cheerful -- downright bitter in fact -- but was nevertheless equally content to be sitting in his rocking chair.
"Well ... you do wear green a lot."
"Green! What the heck has that got to do with anything? Besides, dogs can't see green."
"This dog can; and he hates it."
"What do you mean this dog can? Dogs don't have enough of those retina cone thingies to be able to see green. I read it in a magazine."
"No, not this one. He's special."
"So it is Diseased."
"He is not Diseased, he's special."
"Hmph! I don't see it. That stupid dog just ain't right."
"Grrrrr!" The dog had grown displeased at the bitter old man's comments and lunged at him with all the ferociousness that could be mustered by a dog that 'just ain't right'.
"Gee willikers," shouted the old man surprised by the dogs sudden attack. "Look what that foul beast of a dog has done now."
"What did he do?" asked the cheerful old man, "that sweet little angel."
"It bit my dang thumb off," the bitter old man replied; looking no less bitter with one thumb missing.
"Well you provoked him."
"Provoked it? It dang well bit my thumb right off. I have no thumb!"
"That's not true, you still have the other one," the cheerful old man, quite correctly, pointed out.
"Stop being stupid. I've probably got the dang disease from that dog now."
"He's not Diseased," insisted the cheerful old man.
"Well, what am I supposed to do about my thumb?" the bitter old man asked, hoping for a solution that wouldn't require him to move from his rocking chair.
"Don't worry, he'll get bored of playing with your thumb in a few minutes."
"That's a relief," the bitter old man said with heavy sarcasm in his voice. "And then what am I supposed to do?"
"You could put your thumb in a jar. I'm almost done all the pickles in this jar." The cheerful man picked up a very large jar that was still half full of pickles.
"That jar is only half empty. I'm not putting my thumb in with a bunch of pickles."
"Fine. We'll just have to eat the rest of the pickles then," the cheerful old man said pulling a pickle out of the jar.
"But, I don't like pickles," grumbled the bitter old man.
"Well, maybe we could slice them up and put them on some burgers or something," suggested the cheerful old man.
"I'm not eating any of those crazy veggiburgers of yours." The bitter old man couldn't actually tell the difference between veggiburgers and hamburgers anymore; he just refused to eat veggiburgers on principle.
"Come on, they're good for you."
"Then feed them to that Diseased dog of yours."
"He's not Diseased." The cheerful old man glanced over at the dog, which hadn't grown bored of playing with the thumb quite yet. "He's cute."
"Cute? He's like a barking rat."
"But he's like a cute barking rat," corrected the cheerful old man, "plus he can do tricks."
"What kind of tricks?"
"He can ..." the cheerful old man hesitated, "... bite things really well."
"That's not a trick, that's a danger to society," protested the bitter old man, "and that's exactly what got me into this problem in the first place."
"What problem?" asked the cheerful old man who never sees anything as a problem.
"What problem? I've lost my thumb."
"Oh that problem, well I'm working my way through these pickles."
"You and those dang pickles!" shouted the bitter old man. "Pickle jars are for pickles, not for storing thumbs."
"Once I'm done with the pickles it won't be a pickle jar anymore, it can be a thumb jar."
"Stop being stupid," growled the bitter old man.
"What would you like me to do?"
"I want you to ...", the bitter old man thought for a moment but couldn't come up with anything bitter to say, "... oh, just hand me a pickle." The bitter old man reached over and grabbed a pickle from the cheerful old man. "And get my thumb from that Diseased dog of yours."
"He's not Diseased."