Dear Dr. Boli: What is the meaning of life? —Sincerely, His Holiness the Mahalama of Lamarama, age 8.

Dear Sir: Dr. Johnson, on whom Dr. Boli relies in all such matters, defines “life” as “union and co-operation of soul with body; vitality; animation.” He also gives many derivative meanings for the word, which you would do well to peruse. Indeed, Dr. Boli recommends the study of Johnson’s dictionary to all who are curious about the meanings of words. A well-made dictionary is a companion for life, and Dr. Boli has never found in Johnson’s any cause for disappointment.

It has always been Dr. Boli’s opinion that it is a mistake to go beyond Johnson in looking for the meaning of a word. But he is aware that you, like many other correspondents who have posed the same question, may be asking a deeper and more philosophical question. You may, in fact, be inquiring as to your purpose in life: that is, the task or destiny which will give your life its aim or goal.

Dr. Boli will therefore attempt to give a universal answer to this question, which apparently plagues too many idle youngsters in our modern culture. Your purpose in life, and the purpose of every other living being, is to amuse Dr. Boli. And Dr. Boli would like to add, speaking personally not only to you but also to the rest of the created universe, that you are all doing a fine job of it.