Monday, 9 August 2010

Gallows Humour

My attention was drawn to a new series on BBC1 called Getting On, starring Jo Brand. Now, Jo Brand, a former psychiatric nurse, is not everyone's cup of dribble, but this, and I was hoping it would be a one-off, is hilarious in its matter-of-fact, deadpan, smack-me-to-see-if-I-am-alive humour. (One-off because it is a jewel, the savour of which I do not want diluted.)

I love its unsentimental, yet contradictory affection, for those whose minds or bodies have given up the struggle.

We are all those who are portrayed, if not now at some point should health - a term to question- permits us. We will be the beneficiaries of the well-meaning  patronisation or indifference of professional carers. Do not get yourselves in a knot about the issue. Laugh.

If you can, watch it.

Sue, who told me about this, told me of her mother, an East-End Londoner who found herself married to a country bumpkin sometime during/after the war ( Sue will correct me) and who had been a nurse.

At some point, when young, she, Sue's mum, and other young nurses had to deal with the body of a vastly overweight woman, who, for obvious reasons, had been laid on a waterbed during her final days.

The situation they faced was impossible. Everything wobbled, The harder they attempted to move the corpse, the stronger the waves. Needless to say, they collapsed in giggles. The image is delicious. It is an invitation for the alive and active in their declining years to put on weight if only to provide others with a laugh when dead. To reinforce their sense of living.

What better inscription on one's tombstone. Morose when alive: a giggle when dead.

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