Sunday, June 29, 2014

Just Not Ready to Laugh at Climate Change

We had a great end-of-year send off by a few teachers who took the time and effort to make the final day entertaining.   Years ago, we had a team that would roast all the teachers.  Some audience members were visibly upset and offended by the comments, so it went away, but most of us were just offended if we were neglected to be mentioned in the jokes.  This year is the closest we've come to that level of comedy.

It's through self-recognition and humility that we develop as a community.  It's healthy to laugh at our idiosyncrasies a bit.  And we all love laughing at each other, right?

This year, they took me down a notch for worrying about climate change with a bit about our parking lots being covered in water within two years.

And maybe it's because I'm really crazy that I didn't laugh but instead thought, "Not here, we won't be covered in water.  Give it 60 years, and we'll be positively scorched!"

My lack of a sense of humour on this reminded me of watching Harold and Kumar with an old boyfriend.  We watched the first one and both laughed uproariously.  I love the randomness of the humour.   But then we started watching the second one about Guantanamo Bay. My boyfriend was laughing, but I couldn't see the humour in it.  I've read all about the sexual abuse issues going on there, and the "jokes" about guards forcing inmates to blow them for lunch just couldn't elicit a laugh from me.  It's too close, too real, to possibly be funny.  It was my boyfriend's innocent ignorance that allowed him to keep laughing.  I had to leave.

So it goes with climate change.  For any of us that read the IPCC report in detail, or kept abreast of the news, it's far too close and too real to be funny anymore.  It's downright frightening.  And it's so sad that we'll lose the awe-inspiring beauty of nature, not to mention our many friends and relations.    

And I remember the episode of SNL when they asked the Mayor of NY if it was okay to make fun of 9/11 yet.  He gave his blessing.  We need time after a tragedy to grieve before we can laugh.  But this issue is a tragedy that won't end.  There won't be a time we can start healing from it.

Had they video-taped me dancing and trying to drunkenly harmonize to Wagon Wheel the previous night, repeatedly (and my loud irritation that the band didn't know "Winona's Big Brown Beaver"), I might have been in tears and short of breath laughing so hard.  I'm far from humourless.  Their choice of target fell painfully short of the mark.

Unfortunately, that people found it funny left me feeling all the more isolated in the building.  Too many people just don't get the profound seriousness of this topic.  It's up there with rape jokes now.  I'm not a prude for not finding them funny.  I'm too aware of the harshness of this life to override the ache in my belly at the thought of it.  It's real.  And it's happening right now.

Or maybe I'm just crazy.  We can only hope.

More Wagon Wheel!!

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