Here's my theory: If He exists, then He's the one who has given all his creations whatever gifts they need to survive without fear in a world where suffering is commonplace and death is certain. For most species -- weasels, for example -- the gift is incredible stupidity. The gift of stupidity explains why dogs cannot understand that statues mean them no harm, why parakeets fall in love with mirrors and why the dung beetle never quite figures out the overwhelming horror of his existence. But the gift of stupidity serves a more important purpose: Animals are blissfully unafraid -- they don't know they're going to die.
We humans don't have that gift. Instead, we have the gift of laughter. Humor is how we cope with our deepest fears.
The funnier a person is, I think, the more clearly he or she senses the universal irony of our lives -- that we are trapped in a world of insane design, where we not only are doomed to suffer and die, but where, for example, penis enlargement is a thriving international industry and solar energy isn't; where someone can get rich inventing automatic-flush toilets and spray-can cheese; where there is no parity between the diameter of the birth canal and the diameter of a baby's head; where a serious threat to Earth's environment involves cow burps and termite farts; where botulism has become a beauty product; where a wildly successful modern novel will eventually be read by one-eightieth the audience of a single episode of "American Idol"; where Richard Nixon's signature is on the moon; where people buy into one of dozens of fanciful myths about the origin and nature of the world, each more ludicrous and implausible than the last, but are willing to kill to defend theirs.
You know, the stuff of humor. Without it, we're lost. To me, this is the Meaning of Life.
-Gene Weingarten's Below the Beltway: Is Death a Laughing Matter? Of corpse it is. 8 November 2009; Full article HERE