I have a problem. At times in my life, I have laughed at inappropriate moments. Perhaps, if you are honest with yourself, you have as well. I'm reminded of some 30 years ago, laughing during a funeral service. Crass, I know, but if you could have heard George singing "Trust and Obey" as a 10 year old prepubescent, you would have giggled like a school girl too.
I, too, have been on the receiving end of what I would consider poorly placed laughter. George, himself, has done this to me on several occasions. Just so you know, I'm not talking the ever classic "groin shot" type of incident. That is a patented move guaranteed to illicit laughter even in the most dire of circumstances. A homeless man on Canadian crutches is kicked in the tool shed. Hilarious. Let's exclude that for now. The incident that comes to mind for me is the day a tree fell on my head.
We must have been about 12 or so and George and I were in the woods building a fort. OK, it was basically logs stacked about 2 feet high with no roof, but we'll call it a fort. As you can imagine, to build such a structure in the middle of a pine forest, you need... well, pine logs. Fallen trees were apparently in short supply that day so I decided to use my South Congaree ingenuity and harvest my own.
Now, to make a standing dead pine tree fall without a saw, you have to slowly start pushing it to create a rocking motion. Once you get the tree moving like an inverted pendulum on a clock, in theory, the base will eventually crack and the tree will fall. The weak point of the hypothesis, however, is that you cannot always predict where a rotten tree will crack. It could be at the base, but just as likely midway up the tree. And as you can guess, it was the latter that happened to me.
Things get fuzzy from here, for I only remember three distinct things about this story:
1) I heard a loud crack from somewhere above me.
2) I felt a sudden blow to the top of my head.
3) I heard my friend laughing like... well, like the top of a tree had just fallen on my head.
Apparently stunned and dazed, I wandered aimlessly in the woods for several minutes before coming to my senses. George all the while, doubled over in tears of laughter. If I could have caught him at that moment, I'm sure I would have punched him right in the package. Ah, now that's comedy.
When have you laughed at the wrong moment?