Hmmm, I’m at First Avenue and Seventh …. Why Do I Suddenly Feel Like Bowling?

PRIZM is a “lifestyle segmentation system” that uses census and demographics data and info from “millions of consumer purchase records” to categorize neighborhoods according to their buying habits. (It’s used by the marketing-research company Claritas Inc., and you can enter your own ZIP code at http://www.cluster2.claritas.com/YAWYL.) Here’s the PRIZM lowdown on some local neighborhoods:

West Village

“Bohemian Mix”

Use call answering

Shop at the Gap

Have a rollover I.R.A.

Watch Face the Nation

Read Elle

Financial District

“Money and Brains”p[

Shop at Nordstrom

Have a passport

Have bonds

Watch The X-Files

Read Byte

Upper East Side

“Urban Gold Coast”

Attend the theater

Use olive oil

Bank online

Watch Mystery

Read Self

East Village

“Old Yankee Rows”

Belong to a union

Believe ad campaigns

Buy pop music

Watch bowling

Read Spin

Chelsea

“Single City Blues”

Buy smoke detectors

Shop at Casual Corner

Use non-interest checking

Watch the Movie Channel

Read baby magazines

Brooklyn Heights

“Gray Power”

Belong to a country club

Take a cruise vacation

Have a safe deposit box

Watch the Travel Channel

Read Modern Maturity

Park Slope

“Young Literati”

Plan for large purchases

Take vitamins

Use discount brokers

Watch Bravo

Read GQ

Williamsburg

“Urban Achievers”

Attend pop/rock concerts

Own electronic organizers

Use debit cards

Watch Nightline

Read Gourmet

Flushing

“Big City Blend”

Order from infomercials

Play the lottery weekly

Own Saturns

Watch NYPD Blue

Read Shape

Astoria

“Latino America”

Drink espresso

Do weight training

Have a savings account

Watch Nick at Nite

Read Us

Staten Island

“American Dream”

Do step aerobics

Watch pro football

Bank with a home computer

Watch the Disney Channel

Read Essence

Bronx

“Mid-City Mix”

Use 3-way calling feature

Shop at T.J. Maxx

Drink Pepsi Free

Watch Nightline

Read Muscle and Fitness

Westchester

“Country Squires”

Go cross-country skiing

Bank online

Own fax machines

Watch Frasier

Read Forbes

Greenwich, Conn.

“Pools & Patios”

Shop at Lord & Taylor

Travel by train

Buy $250-plus blinds

Watch the British Open

Read Business Week

-Melissa Walker

A TV Legend Dies: Cue Laughter

” Charles Douglass, 93, Inventor of Laugh Track for TV, Dies” -headline in The New York Times , April 26, 2003.

Scene: The funeral of Charles Douglass, laugh-track inventor.

REVEREND: Family, friends and executive producers of Small Wonder , we are gathered here today to remember a very special man.

(Loud guffaws)

REVEREND (Cont.): Would somebody please turn that darn machine off?

(Hisses and groans)

BOB DOUGLASS, SON OF DECEASED: No, please, keep it on. Dad would have wanted it that way.

( Arsenio Hall Show audience-style whooping)

REVEREND: Very well. As I was saying, we’re here to honor the memory of Charles Douglass, loving husband, father and grandfather.

Close-up on the deceased’s Jack Russell terrier, who lets out a bark to signal that he feels left out.

REVEREND: And pet owner.

(Isn’t-that-cute ” Awwww ” laughs)

REVEREND (Cont.): And now, I ask you all to cast your eyes upon the … hold it, where’s the casket?

(Nervous laughter-the same that was used whenever the Ropers’ bickering got a little too intense.)

BOB: Steve, I thought you said you were bringing it?

STEVE DOUGLASS, ANOTHER SON OF DECEASED: My wife took the hearse to go shopping. You try to fit a casket in the back of a Hyundai.

(Low chuckles, plus one individual hysterically laughing)

WALLY, THE DECEASED’S SCATTERBRAINED NEIGHBOR: I’ve got a gasket.

Wally holds up gasket.

(Big laughs)

BOB: Steve, why didn’t you just rent another hearse?

STEVE: I did, I did. But in order to afford it, I had to, well ….

BOB: Well, what?

STEVE: Kind of, well, you know, sell Dad’s body to UCLA Medical School.

(Loud gasps)

DOROTHY, WIDOW OF DECEASED (sobbing): What are we going to do?

The Fonz enters.

THE FONZ: Ayyyyyy, everybody!

(Thunderous applause)

DOROTHY: Oh, Arthur, something terrible has happened!

THE FONZ: Don’t worry, Mrs. D.

The Fonz snaps his fingers, and four teenage women in poodle skirts enter carrying a casket.

(More thunderous applause)

DOROTHY: Oh, Arthur. Thank you!

(Thunderous applause and loud whooping)

THE FONZ: Don’t mention it , Mrs. D. Hey, wait a minute-is that my gasket?

The Fonz angrily grabs the gasket from Wally and sticks it in his back pocket.

(Huge laugh)

-Mark Bazer