Mudcat Café message #2588217 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #118593   Message #2588217
Posted By: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
13-Mar-09 - 03:51 PM
Thread Name: Folklore: Gallows Humour-laughing at death/disease
Subject: RE: Folklore: Gallows Humor-laughing at death/disease
I once worked as a fireman, while just out of college. My first exposure to "gallows humor" was my station mates' response to having found a body in a house fire - smoking in bed was the cause. The reference was to something very popular on backdoor patios, if you get my drift.

Another time, I saw a cartoon posted on the bulletin board of a hospital pathology department. Long and short, it depicted a patient with a horror-struck look on his face having just overheard the consulting physician say, "I'm sure an exploratory procedure would be helpful, but an autopsy would be more conclusive."

People in professions that deal with death and dying on a regular basis use dark humor as a coping skill. I don't believe it is ever used to mock or demean the departed, though it may seem insensitive to outsiders.

However, for those who think of death or human suffering as a prime source of sophomoric humor, I recommend they look in the mirror and realize that, as Clint Eastwood said in "Unforgiven," "We ALL have it coming, kid."