- Title Pages
- 1 Kindred Spirits
- 2 Intimacy in Language
- 3 Laughter for Dessert
- 4 The Poetry of Ping-Pong
- 5 Days of Chess and Backgammon
- 6 Inventing a Language for Love
- 7 Poetry on the Porch
- 8 All My Trials
- 9 The AIDS Poets
- 10 Oh Did You See the Ashes Come Thickly Falling Down?
- 11 The POEMobile Dreams of Peace
- 12 Free Market Flavor
- 13 The Poetry in Science
- 14 Navigating Transitions
- 15 The Human Unit of Time
- 16 Your Body as Symbol
- 17 Intimations of Immortality
- 18 God Is in the Details
- 19 Breath on the Mirror
- 20 The Best Stories versus My Story
- 21 The Grease Lamp’s Flicker and Flare
- 22 Lion’s Gate
- 23 Rock and Word
- For Further Reading
Laughter for Dessert
Laughter for Dessert
Lightness of Being
- (p.45) 3 Laughter for Dessert
- The Poetry of Everyday Life
- Cornell University Press
The author reflects here on the important role that laughter has played in his life. His brother Murray laughs harder than anyone else he knows—and he caps it off by clapping in wild applause. The author's daughter, Eliza, once quipped: “We had laughter for dessert.” He even imagined a mystery story in which the murderer kills by devising a perfect joke that convulses people with laughter till they die. He also can remember a girl whose infectious laugh inspired a poem entitled Lily. His friend and Ping-Pong partner Bob Mankoff, the cartoon editor of The New Yorker, is a student of humor; he also teaches a class in humor theory at the University of Michigan. And like many long-married couples, he and his wife have developed routines for their own personal comedy team of sorts. The author adds that banter is a key ingredient of folk culture and family folklore.
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