# Fun_People Archive 11 NovWho Needs the Dalai Lama?

```Date: Fri, 11 Nov 94 02:00:47 PST
To: Fun_People
Subject: Who Needs the Dalai Lama?

Forwarded-by: bostic@CS.Berkeley.EDU (Keith Bostic)
Forwarded-by: Jim Duncan <jim@math.psu.edu>

[The following appears in the Letters section of Men's Health magazine,
October 1994, Rodale Press, page 16.  Reprinted without permission.]

In the May 1994 issue of Men's Health, Denis Boyles says that "the
meaning of life" is one of the things every man should know ["It's
the Thought That Counts"].

I have been trying to find out what the meaning of life is for about
50 years.  Would you be kind enough to tell me?

Richard Chambers, Athens, Alabama

Denis Boyles responds:

Finding the meaning of life, Mr. Chambers, is simply a matter of looking
at your fingers from time to time and seeing what they're up to.  If
you're 10 and holding a bat and some 12-year-old Visigoth is staring down
at you from the mound, the meaning of life can be found at the exact spot
where your bat meets his ball.  If you're 17 and have somehow found your
hand just inches from a small, pert breast, you may believe you have the
meaning of life right there in your trousers, a long-term misapprehension
that accounts for much distress in men's lives.  If you're 28, fumbling
with a surgical mask and standing next to a somewhat anxious young woman
in a delivery room (and you're not an actual obstetrician), you'll soon
be able to spot the meaning of life, because he or she will be the
smallest person in the room.  And so it goes.

If, however, you should somehow reach the end of your life without
finding the meaning of it, you can in a pinch use this simple mathematical
equation.  Take the dollar value of all your IRA, Keogh, 401(k), or other
pension plans, add the book value of your savings and other assets, and
divide that subtotal by the combined ages of all your children.  Next,
add up how many times a woman, not personally known by you, looked you
square in the eye and smiled at you in a lascivious manner.  Multiply the
total number of lascivious looks by 10, and divide by the number of
divorces among your immediate family.  Divide the first number by the
second.  Now multiply your grand total by the percentage of everything
you think you can take with you.  And there you go.