When I was a kid, and felt like I needed to get out of the house, I would jump on my bicycle, pedaling along while contemplating the big important philosophical questions running through my eight year old brain, such as “Why can’t people just be happy all the time?”

I would usually end up at the base PX (my father was a career Air Force officer) in front of the magazine stand, where one day I discovered MAD Magazine. In one issue, I found THE POEM THAT CHANGED MY LIFE. It was an absurd riff on something I had been made to learn in school, and it read:

“Thirty days has Septober,

April, June and No Wonder,

All the rest have peanut butter,

Except for my grandmother

Who has a little red tricycle.”

And there was a goofy little picture of a grandmother on a tricycle. This poem was a revelation! Deep in my DNA I recognized a “masterpiece” — a simple piece that turned conventional logic on its head and… made me laugh. Made me happy! I could do stuff like this I realized! I could make other people laugh. Maybe people can’t be happy all the time, but helping them laugh, as my grandmother would say, “It couldn’t hurt!” And I imagined her on a little red tricycle, and I laughed again.