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In what might be a first, a bureaucratic loophole is being used for good. Susannah Cahillane thought a Joke of the Day sign would get some chuckles, not that it would get her in hot water with her homeowners association. (Her jokes surely couldn’t be that bad, right?)

In any case, some in the Snee Farm homeowners association didn’t think it was a laughing matter.

“Where do you take someone who has been injured in a peek-a-boo accident?”

Wait for it…

“To the I.C.U!”

Since our original story in our April 15 “Catching Kindness” issue, Cahillane has been making masks. She’s gotten good enough that she is selling them to friends back in Massachusetts, where masks are required in public. For each mask she sells, she donates two. Last we talked, it took her one hour per mask. Now, she’s cut that time down to 22 minutes. She estimates she’s donated more than 200 masks to Trader Joe’s employees, nurses, police officers, and others.

One more:

“Why does no one in Antarctica have COVID-19?”

“Because it’s ICE-O-LATED.”

But a brief experience into local bureaucracy gave Cahillane an idea. Her family decided they wanted to build a privacy fence and were considering adding a pool, so they applied for the appropriate permits. With the permit came the permit box, the temporary board you’ll find alongside building projects.

“I asked, ‘Well, what goes on the permit box?’ They said, ‘Well actually nothing, but you can put anything you want,'” Cahillane said. Contractors use permit boxes for advertisements for their businesses and as a place to keep paperwork like plans and contact information for a job site. Cahillane’s permit needed to be in her front window, not in the permit box.

“That’s when it clicked: If anything can go on the permit [box], so can the Joke of the Day.”

She found a new joke: “What did the big flower say to the little flower? ‘Hi, Bud!’” Someone anonymously dropped new jokes in her mailbox since her Joke of the Day banners in the early days of the pandemic. She included a note, some balloons, and flowers for her mystery joker.

On a recent trip by the joke of the day on the Cahillanes corner lot, a woman stopped and got out of her car to read the day’s message. Looking up, she smiled, “It’s cute, isn’t it? I’m so glad it’s back.”

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