Saturday, December 12, 2009

Tragedy Plus Time and/or Distance

Often, what passes for amusement comes directly from tragedy.

First example is thanks to the Colorado Springs, Colo., son who happened upon his dead dad and, "because he didn't want people to see him that way," puts him out with the trash. Hard as it is to believe when thinking of the what an idiotic criminal would look like, so far the son, who not surprisingly does have priors on his arrest record, has been charged only with tampering with evidence, not yet patricide.

Second, we have the bemusement that comes from poor writing. A Texas marine suffered the horrible tragedy of his premature baby daughter. The day after she came home from the hospital she died. Nothing funny at all about that — in the same way a son who kills his father draws no smiles. However, reduced only to a poorly written headline, A Dallas tv station writes up his memorializing his daughter by running a marathon with the headline, "Marine to Honor Daughter Who Died of SIDS in Marathon." The struggle, of course, is that of a reader trying to understand how a child young enough to die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome was running a marathon, not at all in the wonder of why her father would honor her.

As father-of-four Mark Twain said, "humor is tragedy plus time," to which he might also have added "distance" as that does seem to make it all safer.

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