What's wrong with me?

Tonight, on the news, I heard that those terrorists were plotting to behead the prime minister I started giggling (chuckling, actually*).
Beheading is not at all funny. There’s nothing funny about it. And this isn’t the first time that this has happened. Nor am I the only one. I’ve seen and heard many people do the same thing under similar circumstances. And then feel awkward about it.
So what is it that stimulates this inapproprite mirth in us?
*Wmoen giggle. Men chuckle.

Sorry, I don’t know how to spell “inappropriate”. “women” is kinda hard too.

If it makes you feel any better, the first thought I had when I heard that was, “Who doesn’t want to behead the Prime Minister?”

Exactly how prime is the minister of Berkeley these days? (I thought he’d retired to Alemeda.)

Dunno if this helps you, mangeorge, but when I was trying to pick between the humanities and science mumble-mumble years ago, I went to talk to an English lit teacher, and while I was waiting, noticed that on every professor’s door, there was a beautiful picture of someplace significant and dazzling. Like Greece or Italy.

When I went to talk to the science people, I noticed that on every door was a sarcastic cartoon, frequently a Far Side.

I asked the science advisor why this was – wouldn’t science people like to see beautiful scenes, too? He thought it over for a moment, went from blank to understanding, and said, “Because science is so frustrating.

There’s a lot of truth in that. The more baffling, frustrating, discomforting, or even horrifying a situation is, the more we need off the wall humor to combat it.
Except in my profession (forensic pathologist). No, sir, no inappropriate humor there. Nope. There’s not even a classification called “morgue humor” to make people laugh at the totally uncomfortable follies and injuries of dead people. Not at all.

At all.

Laughter can be a reaction to stress or just a nervous reaction. I think it is pretty normal to laugh at a tense situation or at something that makes you uncomfortable. Sometimes when you are very sad or stressed you have all these emotions at the surface and laughing is one way of getting them out. I think that’s why people say “I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.” The emotions are actually pretty similar in that they are a way for your body to relieve tension.

“Laughing releases the tension of pent-up feelings and helps you keep perspective. Research has shown that humor is a very effective mechanism for coping with acute stress. It is not uncommon for people to recall laughing intensely even during tragic events, such as the death of a loved one, and remembering how this laughter helped them to endure the emotional pain.” http://www.kmarshack.com/self/d_a_s/manage_stress.htm

Humor, black or otherwise, is an excellent way to deal with something overwhelmingly horrible. And what could be more horrible than someone being beheaded?

I made a spontaneous funny observation during my mother’s funeral, which led to a smattering of nervous laughter. Afterward, many people commented on how that moment of levity helped them get through the funeral.

The best eulogy I ever heard was one in which a relative told funny stories about the deceased. It was warm and tender, and I saw a lot of people laughing through their tears. It was an excellent send-off to a man whose healthy sense of humor helped him deal with the rough spots in life.

Tom Bates (no relation)(I think) is alive and well AFAIK, although he might be retired. It’s kinda hard to tell.

I dated a lab tech for a while who worked in a morgue. She was, I must say, weird. We were a good match, and loved each other for a while.
Yeah, she told me some funny stories. Nevertheless, I’m going to donate my body.
Is lab tech right? She did what Abby on TV does.