My son keeps me well informed whenever he earns a good grade on something at school, which means there are long periods of time during which he does not want to discuss his classes with me. So I was heartened when he offered to show me his science project: Sure enough, he had a large "A" emblazoned on the cover, along with the note that his teacher found his effort "organized and very amusing!" Not sure that I had ever before seen an "amusing" science project, I flipped open the cover and focused on the title: Do Fish Have a Good Sense of Humor?. Well, this is certainly something that scientists have wondered about for years, so if my son had solved the riddle, I suppose it was time well spent. To test the theory, I read farther down, the tank of fish was exposed to a tape recording of one of W. Bruce Cameron's columns, even though we were a little concerned it would upset them. What? "Are you crazy? They don't care about being read to, they're fish for Pete's sake!" "That's what you think," he replied smugly, forcing me to dive back into the report. We also read from a really famous columnist named Dave Barry. "Are you trying to say that I'm not famous?" I demanded. "My teacher had never heard of you." "That's one person!" "No one in my class had heard of you." "That doesn't mean anything. They're school kids, they don't even read, " I fumed. "Well, they had all heard of Dave Barry," he pointed out. "This whole experiment is suspect," I grumbled, reading: When the fish heard the Dave Barry tape, they swam about in an amused fashion. When they heard Cameron, however, they seemed depressed. "Wait a minute!" I exploded. "What do you mean, they were 'depressed'?" "They just didn't seem happy." "They're fish!" I shouted. "What do they have to be happy about?" "We just got them a new bubbler." "I want to hear this tape," I fumed. My son dutifully retrieved his recorder and turned it on. His voice could be heard working his way rather dispassionately through one of my columns, reading in what I would call a monotone. Then he started in on Dave Barry, and he began giggling. "Aha!" I cried. "When you read the Dave Barry piece, you were laughing!" "That's because it was funny," he protested. "I couldn't help it." "But can you see what an impact it would have on the fish? They hear you laughing, and of course it makes them amused." "Are you crazy?", he retorted. "They don't care about laughter, they're fish for Pete's sake!" "I....Are you mocking me?" "Oh, no, sir," he grinned. "I can't believe you didn't laugh when you read my column." "Well, I tried to, Dad" he claimed defensively. "I just couldn't. Everyone there agreed it just made us depressed." "What are you talking about? It was really funny!" "Well, the fish didn't seem to think so." In conclusion, the report went on to say, fish do seem to have a good sense of humor, but they won't laugh at just anything. "Fish do not laugh," I stormed. "They live underwater, if they laughed, they would drown. Your whole project is based on faulty logic." "We got an 'A' on it," he shrugged. "It couldn't have been that faulty." "I think your teacher is an idiot." "Well, after reading your column, he didn't think much of you, either." "Why did you pick fish? Why not something with ears, like the dog?" "I could never do that to the dog," he gasped, horrified. I've decided to write a letter to his teacher, but I need to wait until I've calmed down, because so far all I've managed to set down on paper are the words "Dear Mr. Butt-Head." I don't want to jeopardize my son's grade, but I don't see how he could have gotten an 'A' for the conclusion that fish have a good sense of humor. Clearly, they do not.