This isn't a September Eleventh joke, is it?
Just ask, “September Eleventh who?”
Okay. September Eleventh who?
You said, “Never forget!”
My cousin was actually in the Twin Towers that day.
He was on the sixty-first floor. They told everyone above the sixtieth floor to go up. That they would be evacuated by helicopter from the top of the building. But the helicopters never came. If he'd been one floor lower, he may have lived.
Oh my gosh, your cousin died?
One of my friends worked in an after school program with twelve-year-olds. One of their outings was to a local library where they learned about all of the research implements that have basically been made obsolete by the information dominance of the internet. You know, microfiche and the like.
The kindly librarian guide explained how they could use the library tools to help them with school research papers. The topic she chose to demonstrate how the available resources could be used was September Eleventh. To engage the youths she asked what year the September Eleventh attacks occurred. These children of the new millennium answered, “Sometime in the 1960s, right?”
To further illustrate how removed the school children of today are from the tragedy that defined mine and my peers' adolescence, one of these twelve-year-olds nearly ate pavement tripping over a crack in the sidewalk. Her response to her near-brush with scraped knees was, “Man, I almost went down like the twin towers.” The twenty-something group leaders we appalled alleging it was “too soon.”
I've always been an advocate of humor and its power to take the edge off of life. Everything is absurd an unpredictable and I guess we get to choose if we are going to laugh or cry at the chaos of it all. But maybe sometimes we have to cry before we can laugh? And we are not really allowed to laugh at the pain but is it okay to laugh at the absurd? Am I terrible person for telling a silly September Eleventh joke to someone who had to attend a funeral for someone who died that day?
Comedian Tig Notaroperformed some groundbreaking stand-up comedy after she was diagnosedwith breast cancer. She announces her diagnosis to her audience in her characteristic candid and dead-pan way. The respond with a concerned guttural sound, like they'd been gently punched in the stomach. However, as she continues to discuss the sounds emanating from the crowd turn from pained “oohs” to uncomfortable laughter to genuine amusement and a beautiful cacophony of encouragement. Interestingly, her monologue is mostly her convincing those gathered to hear her performance that it will be okay. And it is funny.
I like the idea of comedy as comfort. I also like the idea of comedy as a means of awakening sensibilities (e.g. racism exists, sexism exists, the world in many ways is not fair, etc.) However, I guess it has its limits, but I am all for gently and respectfully pushing those limits.