Emptied by the loss of his longtime canine companion, Baxter, Ned Holladay of Boston, Massachusetts, continues to come up with things to say, despite the fact that he has nothing left inside him.
"It's pretty remarkable, I have to admit," said Ned of his continuing ability to carry on a conversation while the biggest part of him is wholly absent. "People don't even seem to notice I'm not really there. In fact, if anything, I'm probably a little more fun to be around."
These days, Ned explained, he gives little thought to what comes out of his mouth, and has been surprised that his coworkers seem to find much of it very humorous. "Apparently I'm pretty funny," he said. "I guess grief is the ticket when it comes to cracking up a room."
While Ned's hollowness has somewhat receded since Baxter's death approximately one month ago, he doesn't anticipate that the hole will ever be completely filled - which is great news for his banter.
"I just don't give a shit anymore," he said. "And no one else really seems to, either. Maybe the reason I'm getting along so well with people is that we're finally all on the same page."