Tuesday, August 31, 2004


I spent a lot of time thinking about my "Marching Morons" post yesterday. The point of said post was that there are a lot of remarkably brainless people out there. And sometimes that brainlessness is so extreme that it has tragic consequences. As an example, I highlighted an item from that day’s news in which an (extremely) inebriated driver ran off the road, decapitating the friend who was riding with him. What made the story such a perfect illustration of stupidity was that after the accident, said driver kept on going, all the way to his house - where he went to sleep after leaving his truck parked outside with his friend’s headless body still in it.

That was another twelve miles, folks. And I can personally tell you that those are not the easiest roads to drive, even when it’s daytime and you’re sober. It can get mighty twisty in the hills north of Atlanta.

This incident struck very close to home. The driver lives less than two miles away from me - in fact, on the next street over from a good friend. The young men involved were known to (if not actually friends of) my friend’s eldest son. And so the snarky tone of my post no longer sat quite right with me... although the sheer freakishness of the incident still called, I thought, for at least a nervous chuckle.

But we laugh, sometimes, to avoid dealing with the true horrors of life. And this really was a horror. One young man killed in a gruesome manner, the other with a now tragically altered life. Both with grieving families. All the result of some crushingly bad decisions, coupled with bad luck.

How unnecessary. How stupid.

Should I have made fun of the incident? Was my post over the top? Beyond the boundaries of good taste? Well, that’s the question I’m asking myself.

The Darwin Awards, given to people who manage to get themselves killed through acts of stupidity (thus removing themselves from the gene pool), can be downright hilarious. We laugh at them the same way we laugh when Moe pokes Curly in the eyes. As Mel Brooks famously said, "Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you walk into an open sewer and die." It’s all about what happens to the other guy - we laugh because it didn’t happen to us.

And so I laughed.

I wasn’t the poor son-of-a-bitch who found Francis Brohm’s head. I didn’t have to identify his body. I don’t have to make the funeral arrangements.

So today, I’m not laughing. Instead, I’m trying to have a little rachmones for the family of that poor kid who made at least one stupid, stupid choice Saturday night.

Now, I’m not laughing. Now, I’m pissed off.

1 comment:

Cowtown Pattie said...

Most likely Leno will have some deprecating remark about Nascar and southern inherent ignorance. The apex of ignorance to me is calling anywhere north of the Mason Dixon home! I guess you and I share a particularly wicked brand of humor, as I have been known to laugh my hardiest when life throws me a cruel fastball. Its either laugh or roll in misery sometimes.