Wednesday, June 02, 2010
One of my great personal flaws is that I laugh at wholly inappropriate moments, including at the flotsam and jetsam of tragedy. I'm sure my many friends in the great Polish city of Chicago will be annoyed that I thought this headline was funny enough to post...
...as well they should be, given the terrifying underlying story. Not surprisingly I blame the New York Times, which should have shown more sensitivity in the drafting of its headline.
I so hear you on the inappropriate laughing. My junior high geography teacher once explained how we sold Japan our scrap metal before WWII and they turned around and used it for munitions, etc., to use against us. To illustrate the point, she then told a story about how a piece of shrapnel bounced off a marine's helmet and the marine quipped, "Well, there goes a piece of my old Ford!" I laughed...out loud. I was the only one in the class to do so, and if looks could kill, I wouldn't be here. Her rebuke to me was uttered with a certain venom, "That was not funny!" The problem was, my teacher was a survivor of Nazi Germany. She knew the horror of the war first hand. Oopsie!
(I was also in her class when it was announced that President JFK had been assassinated. Being junior highers, we were more stunned by our teacher's response than the news. She simply sat down at her desk, put her head down, and sobbed uncontrollably for several minutes while we sat in shock at our normally austere teacher.)