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"What if the problem is that your marriage suffers from a total absence of humor?" asks a totally serious article in McCall's magazine. "Perhaps the two of you have become humor impaired."

Author Liane Kupferberg Carter says a good laugh together "allows the couple to feel close to each other at the same time that it provides distance from the problem at hand."Digging down further into the laugh barrel, "This kind of breathing room may give the partners the perspective they need to resolve the situation more creatively than before."

If any of you out there are suffering from marital humor impairment, however, you should be warned about "insensitive or mistimed humor." When the husband of an overweight woman puts a plastic pig in her refrigerator, for example, and the pig is set to say "Are you back again?" every time the refrigerator door is opened, this can be "quite corrosive."

Watch your step. Ha, ha.

P.S. All problems not solved in McCall's are solved in Good Housekeeping. "Control-top pantyhose work especially well as king-size `rubber bands,' " says the latest issue.

- Leah Garchik