High-class cultural-anthropological humor that could be pure gold to beleaguered students and first-marriage yuppies, by the au thor of Men: An Owner's Manual. Brush is witty indeed with her dire talks about human challenges on the way to the grave. For every well-turned buoyancy, she offers two leaden failures, but you dismiss the lead for the floating gold. She opens with ""A Short History of Paralyzing Fear"" and offers ""The Big Five Popular Fears of Our Time,"" which include ""Fear of Gradual Hysteria,"" ""Fear of Amnesia,"" ""Fear of Major Brain-Loss,' and so on. Brush also assays marriage, money, psychoanalysis, success, menaces in the home, people who work in supermarkets, modern technology, and ""The Bad Stuff"" including ""A Short History of Intergalactic Bad Luck."" About reincarnation: ""Nowadays, life is Hollywood, and if your life's been bad, you don't have to worry about there being a sequel. Not if Part I didn't make any money."" About happiness: ""People think that happiness means winning $1 million, or being friends with someone who has $ 1 million, or having children who are Miss America, or whatever--BUT HAPPINESS MEANS, BY SIMPLE DEFINITION, THAT YOU SlMPLY AVERTED ALL THE TERRIBLE THINGS THAT COULD HAPPEN TO YOU ON ANY GIVEN DAY."" On being centered: ""There are two kinds of people. Avocado people and Twinkle people. Twinkle people have a soft, cream-filled center. . .Avocado people are smooth and rich on the outside and have a hard, firm inner core. An avocado is centered. Think of an avocado without its center and all you have is guacamole."" Serious, multidimensional, basic fun.