Gallows Humor (Cop Humor)

Gallows Humor

Someone recently asked me to identify the worst thing I’ve ever laughed at.  Wow, tough call.  I have two jokes that I intentionally hang on to and use to gauge an audience.  I won’t give you punchlines, just in case we ever meet because I hate it when someone says the punchline.  So, here they are: (1) What’s the difference between the real Jesus and a picture of Jesus?  (2) What’s the difference between a truckload of bowling balls and a truckload of dead babies?  You’re allowed to cringe at the punchline, because they’re that horrible, but if you can laugh at those two jokes, we can be friends.

So, an elderly guy dies in his sleep and his wife finds him dead in the morning.  Super sad.  Horrible thing that she’ll have to live with for the rest of her three weeks of life.  See, it’s as if I can’t help it.  You give me sad, I give you back despicable.  Anyway, she finds her husband dead, cops and medics show up, help her out of the house, and eventually her adult kids show up and take her to their home to be with them.  Now, alone with the corpse, we can start processing the scene.  A group of us are gathered in the bedroom while two medics are rolling the body from its side to its back so we can get it into a body bag and onto a gurney.  The rest of the group is discussing how to best get the stiff, rigored-up body into the bag.  As the medics roll the body over, its left arm is now raised with its hand up.  “Wait, wait, wait, guys, hold up,” the senior officer stops the debate and points to the arm, “sir, you have a suggestion?”

So, the worst thing I’ve ever laughed at?  I fear it hasn’t happened yet.  The present list is so long and indistinguished that one could easily start to believe I’m trying to get backstage passes to the 9th Circle of Hell.  It’s the only way I can be present to witness the world’s sorrow, but still together enough to do the job at hand.  If I fell apart at every dead body, I couldn’t function as any type of first responder, much less a cop.

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