No matter how stressful or dire life gets, there’s always a joke hiding just around the corner. In Germany, we often speak of gallows humor, a weird kind of grit-your-teeth-and-bear-it-with-a-grin nonchalance. It is reserved for moments where you’re not supposed to laugh, but where it it will, oddly, still make things better.
A friend’s long-distance boyfriend has been ghosting her for two weeks. Now, every time I see her and there’s still no update, she just shrugs and says, “I know, right? What. The. Fuck.” before she starts laughing. When I catch myself meticulously scrubbing the kitchen counter for the 17th time just to procrastinate on unpacking the 157th box since moving, I’ll just laugh and ask, “What the hell am I even doing?”
Not every situation warrants a joke, but they all sure offer one if you’re willing to dig for it. Most of the time, digging is worth it. The joke doesn’t have to be deep or clever or good enough to be a meme. All it has to do is help you move on with your day.
Life is better when we laugh. Where’s the joke? Find it, and even a rock bottom day might offer some sunshine after the rain.