In the first chapter of Jerome's Three Men in a Boat, the three friends think they have a problem to discuss. Is it a genuine problem? Why or why not?
The three men – J., George, and Harris – are discussing their own health issues. No one suffers from any real disease or crucial ailment. They’re all just feeling “seedy” or listless. J. launches into a story about his own tendencies toward hypochondria, although he doesn’t use this term. He once paged through a medical reference book and imagined that he had nearly every malady listed in it. In the present day, the friends also agree that they are overworked. We find out later that George works in a bank six days a week. But we never learn what J. and Harris do to make money. How could any one of them be stressed out from too much work? Already, their motivations are suspect. They seem to merely need to get away from the city for a short while, and to get a change of scenery. No, it’s doubtful that their problems are truly genuine. But the stage is set. Thus begins their humorous travelogue.