From the yak (or goose) to the boffa, this gamuts that frowned-on member of society -- the practical joke in all its manifestations. There was a book some time ago, Hours (Macmillan), which covered much of the same territory but this will apprise a coming group of readers of the variations that the life of the party, the clown and the more subtle prankster can effect on suffering (or appreciative) companions (they might not be friends at the end of some of these). The ""Low Man"" digs deep into history, for the origin and practice of this form of humor; does not condone the unkind, unpleasant and sometimes unfortunate japeries; and does uphold the wit and planned perpetration that derides pomposity and smugness, and adds to the jovial aspects of a mad world. Skylarkings in special fields, in the small town, in grandpa's day, currently and among the literary, Hollywood-ites, social, state and sports denizens -- here is the anatomy of what is melancholy to some -- hilarious to others. And there is the biter bit, to even out. Horseplay, trickery, high and low -- at least in reading the joke won't be on you. Some fun, hey kid?