newest entry 2001-09-20 1:05 p.m.

Irony versus Gallows Humor

In the aftermath of 9/11, more than a few columnists and commentators have predicted the "end of irony". In one sense of course I hope this is true. I do believe my generation tends towards shallowness and solopsism, and I am no exception. The last several years of my life have been a trek out of that mindset into a more heart-centered approach to living.

But gallows humor is another story.

I've been walking around all week like an exposed nerve. While this vulnerability has allowed me to be close to people, and to feel other people's pain, it's also resulted in sleepless nights, fits of ridiculous rage and irrationality. I started to feel a little more functional again when I found I could still joke and laugh about things.

I occasionally make joking reference now to the "end being nigh"...or to whatever snappy nom-du-jour the press have concocted for our national crisis (I favored "Attack on America!" with its built-in exclamation mark). And who can't find the absurd humor in "germ warfare", or in the Channel 2 news crew's incompetence?

This isn't my attempt to trivialize the world around me, it's my attempt to inflate a little bubble of levity and humor around me, because I've found that it's a fully retractable device, it's permeable, and it allows me to get on with living.

I promise I won't let it obscure my heart.

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