Today at work I confessed to my colleague that I'd spent at least two days gloating over and scanning a collection of 19th century photographs I'd found in a junk shop. She thought this was hilarious and mocked me as a sad obsessive. I felt aggrieved and defended my hobby as humane and erudite. This entire conversation took place over a bed-ridden patient. So, decided to resolve our argument by asking him to act as judge. He was on a ventilator and unable to speak, but signalled his loyalty by grimacing comically at my colleague and then shaking me warmly by the hand.