Names and Faces

It’s easy to judge from afar and to really allow people to become statistics. In some ways, this is enjoyable. It’s a lot easier to make a cruel joke about someone who you don’t know, or whose suffering is perpetually out of reach, or whose character is can never be known.

It’s a lot easier to dehumanize, and a lot more fun, when those you are making jests at are just figures on a screen or numbers in a report. A handful dead in Timbuktu is the empathic equivalent of saying, a few ants crushed. The ants, we will never know to have our emotional capacity, nor will the dead.

Laughter is still important. Jokes are still to be enjoyed. I myself have a dark sense of humor.

My emotional toys are a lot less plastic when I find myself talking with them.

I was thinking about that after talking with someone today. I will make fun of her “tribe” as will she mine. I don’t feel a need to specify; it could be political orientation, a creed, a literal tribe, a religion. It doesn’t matter. She acknowledged making jokes about my (insert tribal quality here), as I acknowledged doing the same about hers.

I enjoyed talking with her. I had quite a few laughs as did she. I knew my jokes were crude, and I knew hers were too. It was something that didn’t need to be said and it could just be known between us.

She taught me something, though. She was a lot less of a statistic standing right in front of me, a lot less of something in the news that could be cast aside as my comedic “plaything”. She was a lot less of something I could refuse to acknowledge, anymore.

Those damn names and faces are going to ruin my sense of humor. At least I know why if it does.

Until next time,


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