In J. R. R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings (Book III, Chapter 5) there occurs the dialog:

'In one thing you have not changed, dear friend,' said Aragorn: 'you still speak in riddles.'

'What? In riddles?' said Gandalf. 'No! For I was talking aloud to myself. A habit of the old: they choose the wisest person present to speak to; the long explanations needed by the young are wearying.' He laughed, but the sound now seemed warm and kindly as a gleam of sunshine.

A witty remark ... but with all due respect, O most esteemed Gandalf, you may have misspoken. It's not the wisest person present whom one addresses --- it's the one most in need of help. (see also DangerousSelves, 2 June 1999)

And even more important than who you talk to is who you laugh with. Healthy, appropriate laughter is such a critical component of life! How else to show joy at a new discovery, a wonderful surprise, or a delightful revelation of beauty? How better to express the depths of good cheer with a friend, or even a well-met stranger? And what could be a more perfect way to say "I love you" to one's dearest, or to the universe itself?

TopicLiterature - TopicLife - TopicHumor - 2002-01-14

(correlates: SirJonathan, PitifulLosers, GoodBeyondHope, ...)