Humor has long been known to help people cope with life. Dark humor is how some people cope, and dark humor memes are just funny. Maybe it’s the cringe why-did-I-laugh-at-that humor. Or, sometimes it’s the oh-God-now-I’m-going-to-hell kind of humor, but humor nonetheless. Dark humor memes are how some people, who may have seen some dark things, cope.
Everyone knows what humor is. Most sitcoms on TV are humorous. It’s comedy; there to make you laugh. Comedians provide humor in the form of standup routines, and some of them can get pretty dark. Ever seen Bill Burr, or even Dave Chappelle? They can get VERY dark, and they’re not even military. Military humor is often pretty dark because of the subject matter.
When you’re surrounded by the machines and ethos of war 24/7, the mind tends to look for the light in all that darkness. Sometimes that light is some dumbass’s flashlight waving around as he tries to find the tent flap. Sometimes, though… sometimes it’s the fires of hell, waiting to warm you up for laughing at the sick shit that just came out of your buddy’s mouth. One of the first sick jokes I remember hearing was in 1986, right after the Challenger disaster: “What does NASA stand for? Need Another Seven Astronauts.”
Another term for dark humor is gallows humor. What doesn’t kill you gives you unhealthy coping mechanisms and a dark sense of humor. You’ve got to laugh… or else you’ll cry. Stop me if you’ve heard it: What do dark humor and food have in common? Not everyone gets it.
Some studies have even suggested that those who appreciate gallows humor may have higher intelligence levels than those who don’t. If that’s the case, I’ve worked with some Mensa-level folks in my time.
Some things cross the line, though, and will not be featured here. The line, however, is arbitrary and varies by individual. I know some VERY offensive jokes that crack me up every time, but I won’t repeat them anymore due to concern for my eternal soul. I don’t know anyone in the military that doesn’t appreciate at least some dark humor. It’s almost hardwired into our brains to find something funny in even the darkest of subjects. Whistling past the graveyard, as it were.
When you see something on the news that takes your breath away with the sheer inanity of it, dark humor may be the way to cope. While U.S. servicemembers were in Afghanistan aggressively fighting the Taliban and emerging ISIS threats in 2015, other news captured the worlds’ eyes.
What do you do when your buddy is dying in your arms and the whole world is lauding the Bruce-to-Caitlyn transition? Laugh, ‘cuz that’s all you CAN do. Dark humor is sometimes the only humor you can stomach, and dark humor memes are a good way to do it.
Next time someone tells a joke that makes you look around to see who heard it, it’s probably dark humor. When you worry about your soul after you laugh at something so wrong but oh so funny, you dig that dark humor. If you laugh, then realize no one else is laughing, look for that other guy with a smile on his face. He’s probably a veteran, too, and understands why you laugh. Civilians may not get it, but they don’t have to. It’s like food…
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