WASHINGTON D.C.—Remember those features in Readers Digest, “Laughter is the Best Medicine”? Do they still have that? Does Readers Digest still exist? In its day it was perfect for leaving on the back of the toilet in the bathroom—it had short articles when you were in a hurry and long ones when you were going to stay a while.

But that’s not what I came to talk about. I came to talk about love. Cosmopolitan, and other magazines for unattached women, always feature an article per issue on “Things that drive men wild in bed,” or some other title that means the same thing. Yes, I know, love and sex are entirely too often confused with one another, to the general harm of mankind, one desperate couple at a time. The point is that such magazines offer all sorts of poor advice on how to get together and stay together.

Laughter is the real key. The family that laughs together, stays together. No rhyme; the meter’s off. However, the reality is dead on.

That does not mean that the man tells a real knee-slapper from Captain Billy’s Whizbang. The woman laughs heartily, and then says, “Now I think we should make love like crazed weasels.” Nothing is that simple. If it were, we’d all be slim, wealthy and happy, with all our body parts functioning just fine, thank you very much.

Everyone for whom that statement is remotely true, raise your hands. Let’s not always see the same hands.

I’m not talking about joke-telling. I’m talking about the kind of humor that grows spontaneously out of real situations, looked at with a slanted eye. All of us have a little bit of the Gary Larson in us. Set aside what is normal, ignore what is expected, look at any situation like you’ve never seen it before and cows can stand on their hind legs, drink martinis and speak plain English. A French poodle named Fifi can seize the controls of a burning airplane and “save the day.”

I’ll tell you a secret about the lady with whom I share this column. In addition to being attractive, and smart, and funny, she is terrific in bed. Yes, I know this is a family publication. No, I’m not going to write anything which will offend the sensibilities of the most gracious of our readers. Here’s the plain, unvarnished truth…

Both of us get up once or so each night. We are elderly. Let me correct that—I am elderly. Michelle is a lady of a certain age. In any event waking moments should not be wasted. She will say something strange and funny. I will retaliate in kind. We will go into a riff of 15 minutes or so. Then, with our sides tired from laughing, we will go back to sleep for the night.

Those who know us know exactly what I’m talking about. Those who don’t, feel free to go up to Michelle in the supermarket or wherever, and ask her about Mrs. Murphy’s black eye.

You know those obnoxious commercials for pajamas and teddy bears that have infested your cable TV channels in the last week? She told me under no circumstances to even think about giving her anything like that. It has to be more thoughtful than that.

So, I’ve put some thought into it. I have to spoil the surprise and put it in the paper. So, I got a high-tech toilet brush with the flushable, changeable head, and a toaster with nifty controls. Well, that and dinner at Cyprus with the French-style steak and a mushy card. I’m dead meat if I don’t get a card that hits the spot.

How much do I love you? This big. [Holds hands wide apart.] Thanks for the smarmy poem in another newspaper that I won’t name, but it’s down in Franklin.

I hope everyone fortunate enough to have a Babboo has a happy Valentine’s Day. And, if you don’t have a Babboo, I hope you have one by next year.  It’s good to have a Babboo.