THE MAN THEY CALLED 'John Doe' shuffled down the corridor, eyes vacant and mouth turned down in what appeared to be a permanent scowl. He was tall, but very thin, elbows and hipbones jutting out at irregular angles as he walked. His hair was long, pulled back into a ponytail; strands of silver interspersed amongst what once had been sandy brown. An unkempt beard covered the lower part of his face, making him look older than he actually was. He had on institutional pajamas, an old tattered robe and LL Bean flip-flops that slapped annoyingly on the linoleum as he shuffled along. Sliding down his nose were a pair of gold wire-rimmed glasses. Overall, to those old enough to remember, he looked like some forgotten remnant from the Haight Ashbury District of the sixties.
"Hey, John," an orderly called out as he passed by. "We could use some help in here with the medical records software."
The man stopped, turned, and nodded. Then he walked quietly into the office and sat down at the computer. He used sign language to ask the orderly what the problem was. The orderly explained and the man nodded again then settled down to work. As his hands flew over the keys, the tension in his face relaxed and the beginnings of a knowing smile played at the corners of his lips. And, at least for this moment, he was content.
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