Sunday, 28 September 2008

So what is grave humour?

I ask this question in all seriousness - and I have a feeling that over the next few years, it will be an issue that confronts me and stretches me - sometimes to breaking point.

You may have detected a certain relationship between me and Mr Reaper...I admit to being attracted to the 'Pythonesque' vision and also the version purported by the inhabitants of 'Diskworld'. Mort ought to be my nickname, but I have a perfectly nice acquaintance called Mort (in real life naming terms...) and Antler is something that I got stuck with years ago. Antler reminds me of a shamanic head-dress I once saw - or imagined. (No one else would think of that link in relation to.....) I digress. Sorry.

'Grave humour'. What is it? How is it used? Is it helpful - even useful....?

There are so many aspects of this question - aren't there!
Bordering on the dangerous and distasteful - some of them.......

Justification/or not-of...

Facetious and tasteless quips to cover the discomfort of a situation.
Light hearted observationals, such as 'do you know the one about the headless man.....' Throw-away lines that may even act as 'mantras' to 'protect' the speaker - but which might actually cut to the quick, or deeply offend someone else, if heard inappropriately.

Could this mechanism be used unwittingly to transcend unpleasant reality, especially by those who face these types of hard realities daily?

Is this a phenomenon that can be seen as a measurable coping mechanism?

I know some of you are nurses/etc....medical humour may be considered to act similarly. Any observations?

Back to tattoos...'CUT HERE' seems appropriate to me.


Mrs. Hall said...

Without humor, the stress and pain we absorb would just stay inside us.

This is especialy true with us nurses. Who absorb a lion's share.

Unless we can learn to be with pain and suffering, to sit next to it without letting it live and breathe inside of us.

Until that point I think we have two options. Let the pain fester inside, unspoken.

Or hash it out, with crash jokes and gallows humor.

As for where I am at right now, I am in the middle of the two. The middle of sitting with pain and not absorbing it and using a bit of gallows humor to let the energy out.

Darkly yours,

Mrs. Hall

Fi said...

Humour is a necessary part of stress relief and coping. Here are a few of my favourites....


You look at a cardboard box and recognize its coffin potential.

You can keep your milkshake frozen in the freezer around the dead bodies.

Your work clothes look like your pajamas.

You have no problem eating your lunch on the wet sink where they have just finished a necropsy.

You can detect maggots at 100 paces, just by the smell.

To you, pets are more recognizable than their owners are.

When eating and you find a hair in your food, you pull it out and keep eating.

The first thing you wonder when opening up a big cat abscess is,
“Where are the Ritz crackers?”.

You start to like the smell of anal glands.

You can play connect the dots with all your scars and puncture marks.

When NORMAL people won’t eat meals with you.

Your medicine cabinet holds nothing but animal medications.

You know that “pink juice” and “blue juice” are not flavors of Kool-Aid.

Charles Cowling said...

I was in my undertaker's yesterday and I was very struck by the six coffins in the air-conditioned mortuary, each with its lid slightly askew, and the still faces inside wearing that slightly talc-ed look that dead bodies wear (call it waxy if you like), and they all looked terribly sweet, these dead people, in their horizontality and their boxes, all waiting to go, and it struck me that what we do to dead bodies is both silly and serene. Loving, yes, and also very funny. So far as funerals are concerned, when stiff upper lips deny all outlet to grief, it can only escape in the guise of humour. Real humour, of course (not gags humour) has a long relationship with wretchedness. Real humour, the sort that's going to do anybody any good, tends to be well dark.

Attagirl, Ange!!