One summer, I indulged myself in a trip to a tiny barrier island off the Gulf coast of Florida. I relaxed and enjoyed myself immensely, but I didn’t discover the full flavor of fun until my last morning on the coast.

I walked along the shore quickly; walking was my usual exercise routine. It was also my fun, even if it was purposeful. Suddenly, I saw two dark, shining slivers move among the waves. I watched them indecisively. I decided to slow down out of curiosity, reassuring myself I would walk farther to make up for this interruption. Soon I was seduced by two dolphins coming toward me, rolling in the waves, dipping and diving, and clearly inviting me to play with them. I accepted their invitation. We moved down the shoreline together, I running with a passion I had not known before, my dolphins swimming with a passion they were never without.

As abruptly as they had come, they disappeared, leaving in me a slightly desolate feeling. I was no longer even vaguely interested in my now irrelevant forced march or my target heart rate. I moped along slowly, until suddenly three different beautiful dolphins began another round with me. They were even more enticing, flipping and tossing in delight, moving toward me and pulling me forward. I was drunk on these magnificent creatures, screaming, laughing, crying, throwing myself in the air with them. I felt as if I could follow them out to sea. My consciousness was drenched with the power, the simplicity, of their existence: “Life is bliss,” the message seemed to be. “It is plentiful. Savor the simple pleasures that are offered to you moment by moment.”

Laura Lucas
Maple Grove, Minnesota

For those who are happy, having fun is the answer to the question, “What are you doing?” To me, having fun is a way to say thank you for such a glorious life.

Most people cubbyhole having fun to a narrow range of possibilities. Working, waiting, and performing day-to-day chores are excluded — often emphatically.

Thinking can interfere with fun because, when our intellects are involved, we denigrate fun as immature — perhaps because kids are often the only ones having fun.

I suspect that, as scientists explore the endorphin and immune systems, they will find that both are most stimulated when people are having fun — especially if it is sustained. Fun may contribute to a life of well-being more than any other single factor.

Having fun does not imply not having crisis, death, or hard work in one’s life. It simply means that, in facing and working through life’s difficulties, one finds things to enjoy. Life is the peak experience.

Patch Adams, M.D.
Arlington, Virginia

Today I bought a bagel so hot it hurt my hand. “This is the hottest bagel of my life, but it still isn’t enjoyable,” I thought, somewhat tragically, on First Avenue.

Violet was in a rare mood today. She looked like Cissy Spacek. We sat by St. Mark’s Church while she ate watermelon. She talked about the mime class she was taking — “We did walls” — then pressed against a wall for me. “Also we did fogged-up windows. Some people played tic-tac-toe on them.”

I felt lucky.

I thought about Bob Dylan a lot today. What’s going on with him? His new album fell like Rome.

Is he having too much fun or too little?

This summer I’m working in a camp. I get paid $300 a week to have fun with autistic kids.

I’m getting paid to have fun with people who can’t have fun. That’s why there’s so much money involved. If these were people who liked fun, it would be free.

Were any of the great events in history fun? Revolutions are fun — unlike wars. Having a baby isn’t even fun.

As a rule, the less fun something is, the more important.

Kites are fun and have added nothing to the world’s knowledge — wait, a discovery was made with one, and now the civilization runs on it.

Brooklyn, New York