There’s much talk about the theory of how fire was harnessed,
And of the wheel, of who got killed first, and of Caan and Abel.
But what about laughter? How did all that get started?
Did something rise up out of the depths of endless time,
Having within it, already formed,
The seed of humour?
Like it was tickled into existence.
From what pool of primordial mirth did laughter emerge?
The eye was a blob that evolved to see, of course,
But when did it first twinkle with inner merriment?
Was the first laugh a howl or just a little chuckle, like a spark.
Did the first spark emit a giggle or a chortle?
Then, over millennia, did the little smirks and titters grow and spread.
Until they blazed into guffaws and cackles?
In the time of stones, what foolery ridded men of their ancient hours?
Long before the first civilization arose and fell,
What little tribe of wanderers collapsed
Into gales of laughter?
Before there was slave and master,
What hilarity first captured the people?
Until tears streamed down their rough-hewed cheeks
(now chiseled also with laugh lines).
Who first slapped a knee?
Who was the first joker?
The first clown?
The first wise guy?
Who first discovered the punchline?
Who first laughed at a fart or a funeral?
Who’s belly first ached from laughing?
And when were we first given over entirely to this great mirth?
Like we were tickled into existence.