Skip to main content

Making Fun of Tragedy -- Invitation to Write #74

For Writers:

I was in study hall when I first heard the rumor that the Space Shuttle had blown up. Was it true, we asked the teacher? And soon enough, we discovered it was. The entire school felt like a very sober place for the rest of the afternoon.

By next morning, the jokes started. Someone asked where the Challenger astronauts vacationed. The punch line: All over Florida. This was just one of the jokes, and this was 1986, way before high speed Internet made being tasteless uber-easy.

Looking back on it now, it’s amazing to me just how quickly jokes like this spread. Some of the jokes were morbidly funny, and I’m sure people used the tasteless humor just as a way to cope with the tragedy. Others probably just repeated the jokes because kids will be kids and don’t always know any better.

I honestly don’t remember anyone telling 9/11 jokes, but a quick Internet search shows that they’re out there. One 9/11 joke website even says, “After five years, you can laugh! It’s official!” What exactly are we supposed to be laughing at?

Should any subjects be “off limits” to jokes? Why or why not?

“Men show their character in nothing more clearly than by what they think laughable.” -- Goethe


Popular posts from this blog

Summer Day Trip #1: Caledonia, Minnesota

The Wired Rooster Coffee Shoppe -- Caledonia, Minnesota

I've lived in Minnesota for over ten years, sure, but that doesn't mean I've actually seen much of the state. Like most people, I know what I know, and I go where I go. And that's the extent of it. But once I resigned myself to the fact that I wasn't going to make it to Alaska this summer, it occurred to me that I had plenty of sites to explore in the immediate region.

First stop: Caledonia, Minnesota. Where's that? It's a small town in the southeast corner of the state. Before I opened my Rand McNally Road Atlas, I had never heard of it, and before I punched the town name into Trip Advisor, I didn't know if there was anything there worth visiting.

Distance from home: About 75 miles.

Challenge #1: Leaving by 6:30 a.m.

Challenge #2: Taking my dog, Atticus.

Actually, Atticus is a good dog on a road trip, but the forecast indicated that it was going to get into the 90s. I wanted to leave early in the …