Millions of you out there are looking for something to make you laugh. Usually, it’s right there in the room with you. Your husband is yelling at Notre Dame as if they can hear him through the cablecast signal. The dog is awaiting its turn at the baby’s teething biscuit. Your wife is . . . no, . . . women never do anything ridiculous. Even so, you’re always ready in case she does. And you’re always spying on the neighbors. You know damn well one of their kids is going to step out on the porch stark naked and chase the ice cream truck. Or the old man is going to run over the lilac bush with the lawnmower while downing a beer.
Sometimes, though, your family and neighbors undergo a strange phase of normality in which they never do anything stupid. This could last hours. Even days. That’s when you check the newspaper comics, which has about two funny strips in it now. Then you check your e-mail. You’ve seen the penguin push the other penguin in the water. And you’ve read the joke about The Sunday school teacher and the Chinese hooker. Before you stab your monitor screen with the letter opener, check out www.thefredeffect.com. It will be right there in your “Favorites”. I hope it’s funny. But I can absolutely guarantee you won’t go to hell or suffer seven years of bad luck if you don’t share it on facebook or forward it as e-mail.