Gallows Humor

I wonder if it is a common trait of siblings of the severely handicapped to have a dark sense of humor. Webster defines gallows humor as ”humor that makes fun of a life-threatening, disastrous or terrifying situation.”[1] Disastrous or terrifying might describe experiences of some of us siblings; perhaps some have experienced life-threatening situations as well.


I know that I have a dark sense of humor, and am prone to the use of puns. I always seem to have one in my back pocket in case an appropriate situation should arise. I usually like to pad the story with McGuffins, to throw the listener off, then the listener likes to throw me off… a bridge, usually. I’ll give you a quick example:

There is a funeral on a hilltop. The casket is on a wheeled cart. It gets away down the slope. It rolls faster and faster. The assembled congregants, all very old, chase after it. One younger man runs ahead of them and sees a pharmacy. He runs inside, totally out of breath and points outside to the mass of people running. He points ahead of them to the object of everyone’s pursuit and gasps, “Got anything to stop that coffin?”

I like that one as puns go, although it is not too finely crafted.

Really dark humor

I’m having a tough time thinking of a really dark joke at the moment. I would be uncomfortable presenting it in a blog forum in any case. True gallows humor is composed by the victim and is understood by others in similar circumstance.

So, what do you think? Do siblings tend to enjoy dark humor as long as it is kept ‘in the family’ with others who understand?

There must be other ways of coping but for me, it helps keep depression at bay. I could be wrong though.

I leave you with my favorite pun. It is equivalent to an optical illusion: one cannot keep both meanings in one’s head at the same time.

 Time flies like an arrow; Fruit flies like a banana.


A belated happy National Siblings Day to all.

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