Status: Old joke
The Register has posted a transcript of a BBC radio call-in show
during which a man phoned up claiming to have a highly unusual medical problem. Following an operation in Turkey to treat his impotence, the man now finds that every time his neighbor opens the garage door, he gets an uncontrollable erection:
CALLER: But what is happening now is every time my neighbour comes back in their 4 x 4, I get an erection.
HOST: Good Lord.
CALLER: This is embarrassing. It's a big problem.
HOST: Have you been to see your doctor about it?
CALLER: The problem is I had this done in Turkey, using equipment that is not known in this country. I don't like it because every time his car pulls in I can't leave the house.
HOST: (Laughing) I'm afraid that it sounds funny as well. I know it's not funny for you.
CALLER: It's not funny for me, Roger, when I can't leave the house because I'm walking around with a big erection.
I'm sure I'm giving this more thought than it deserves, because there's no way it's not a joke. I'm not aware of any bionic penile implants that could be activated by the radio frequency that a garage-door opener uses. (And I actually did some research into strange penis implants in the course of writing chapter two in Hippo Eats Dwarf
... the one about fake body parts... but I never came across anything like that.)
Update: David Emery
immediately identified this as an old joke whose history has already been traced in FoafTale News
. Apparently Bob Hope used a similar joke in his routine, saying that his neighbor got a new pacemaker, but now every time he made love his garage door opened. As the joke circulated through popular culture, the pacemaker turned into a penile implant that was activated whenever the garage door opened. This version has been seen in the Weekly World News
(August 5, 1997, p. 58) and Fortean Times