Friday, 15 July 2011

The Uses of Black Humour

The other day whilst in a clothes shop I noticed a lady trying on a jacket. There was nothing obviously odd about her but I got this feeling that she was not alright.

So I went over and asked her whether I could help.

'Yes!', she said, 'I have fibromyalgia and my arm is stuck!'

So I eased her arm back to a normal position and helped her to try on the jacket, and we had a laugh and a great chat about fibro and she gave me some useful info to tell Eldest. She was lovely!

On Wednesday afternoon, Eldest rang to say she was in such awful pain that she was coming home for the night and would I meet her off the train at 4 o'clock. Well I was there and she took ages to appear, so I was about to storm the barricade onto the platform to see whether she was stuck on the train (steps are a terrible bother to her) when she appeared, very slowly.

Later in the evening she took a notion to make biscuits. She and Middlest were having a rollicking time when Eldest suddenly fell over backwards onto the floor. She lay there giggling and shouting, 'I saved the biscuits! I saved the biscuits!' Which she had- she'd thrown the bowl onto the table as she felt herself falling!

There is a point to this waffle!

Two points in fact:

Firstly, it seems to me that many people with long-term disabilities develop a real sense of black humour as part of their coping mechanism. And honestly it can be awfully funny.

A few years ago a very good friend could no longer manage the stairs in her house, and her husband didn't come quickly enough when she called. She casually asked him to re-position their daughter's trampoline closer to the back of the house, and then, when he asked 'why?' explained it was so she could jump out of the window to get downstairs....

I dunno whether its my reprehensible sense of humour, but I thought that was just hilarious!

Secondly, and this is more serious, how many 'hidden' or 'invisible' disabilities surround us all the time? People just quietly getting on with their lives with little or no help.
How many times do we pass people who could do with a hand, and not notice?
How often do we get annoyed with the person in front of us being slow, when in fact they are doing the best they can, and possibly in more pain than we could imagine?

We all notice the elderly, and make allowances for them, well here, we do. I'm referring to younger people, teenagers, twenties, thirties, etc, people who are not old and look fine on the surface.

Since learning to cope with Eldest I try to keep my eyes open and my antennae never know when you'll be able, with one small act, to make a considerable difference to another person's day.


Ulla said...

You are so right about the black humour, but I have also noticed that it is strictly for the people concerned only. It is still bad taste to make a joke about someone else's disability of any kind. You are welcome to laugh with them but not at them.

Amanda said...

I agree with you about not noticing people who are struggling. It really came home to us when our Number One Son developed sever ME when he was just 12. People just didn't understand how poorly he was since he looked pretty well. But black humour is essential I think for them and their families, it's often the only way to cope.

soggibottom said...

Perfect post :-) x x x
Could have saved me a cookie though !

Elaine said...

We do need to have more patience with people, because as you say you can't always tell if they have a disability or not. People are so often in such a hurry they don't take the time to relate to the people around them. Just a small helping hand can often make a huge difference in someone's life.

Jane In The Jungle said...

Amen sister, one thing I always make the kids aware of is if someone is struggling with a door, no matter how old or young they are, you jump in to help. You just never know....


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