Life is a journey filled with ups and downs; if there is joy, there is sadness, if there is happiness, there is tragedy. Like a coin, it has two sides that cannot be separated; if sadness exists, joy must exist too. And in this life filled with tragedy from time to time, people have found ways to come out if from time to time and have come up on top on more occasions than one can imagine. However, the sad part is that people seem to regularly find some tragedies and other mishaps in life funny, but there are many variables involved in the transformation of tragedy into laughter. As Erma Bombeck once said, “There is a thin line that separates laughter and pain, comedy and tragedy, humor and hurt.” Why do so many people find tragedies and misfortune to be funny, and what makes it so?
Such is the situation with Coronavirus right now. While hundreds have died from the disease and thousands infected with the same, the social media is sadly filled with jokes and memes on it. When the World Health Organisation has declared a global health emergency and leaders of countries across the world taking up steps to prevent the virus from entering their country or prevent their citizens from being infect by Coronavirus, there are a section of those on the social media, creating jokes and memes just so to get a few more ‘Like’ and ‘Share’ on their page. How sad that one has to find fun and happiness in the tragedies of others. These people should realize that there is a set back – a death, a sick person, an important loss of some sort – and nothing is funny. In fact it is horribly inappropriate to laugh. What is most needed emotionally at this stage is a catharsis such as crying, cursing, expressions of grief, physical outbursts or all of the above. Without this release of tension, it’s difficult for the individual to move on. This cathartic time varies from person to person, and with the degree of disaster, i.e. recovering from the loss of a fingernail generally takes less time than recovering from the loss of a limb!
Indeed, it is no laughing matter that the world is on alert because of Coronavirus and is taking all precautions possible. It is no laughing matter that when thousands are infected and hundreds have died, one has to find humour in that tragedy. Before creating such jokes and memes on the virus, they must ask themselves if they would do the same if one of their family members was infected by the disease or died from it. Another man’s tragedy cannot be another man’s joy, if one wants to live in peaceful co-existence.