I think it was George Blodgett who first shared this one.
A couple goes to a therapist. Their problem: “We’re just not communicating, doctor.”
“But it’s really serious. I mean, we haven’t exchanged a single word between us in over four months. Nothing. No grunts. Not even hand signals.”
“Ah!” replies the doctor. “This is indeed serious. Very serious. But we do have a very effective treatment. Come with me.”
The doctor leads the couple out of his office and down a corridor until he comes to a door far down on the left, which he opens, inviting them in.
The room is filled with small tables, at each of which sits another couple, in stone silence. The room is dead quiet.
Our couple is directed to their own table, where they take seats and wait to see what’s going to happen.
Well, what happens is, the door opens and a lone man enters, with a large acoustic bass on a wheel, which he directs to a corner of the room. He unzips the case, replace the the wheel with a peg, removes the instrument, and begins to tune up. Now he begins a walking bass line. After a few bars of that, he begins improvising, now adding grace notes, triplets and so on.
And now an interesting thing happens: One of the silent couples at the tables strikes up a tentative conversation. And now a couple at another table does the same, and pretty soon, all over the room, couples who remained quiet until now, are all talking—including the couple that came in with the therapist.
“This is fantastic!” the husband tells the therapist. “How could this possibly be happening?”
“Oh, don’t you know?” he answers. “Everybody talks during the bass solo.”