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Gallows Humor: The Milspouse Version

gallows humorFunction: nounDate: 1901: humor that makes fun of a life-threatening, disastrous, or terrifying situation

At SpouseBUZZ LIVE Camp Pendleton, we began a discussion about funny or odd things that we've heard from civilians. Before I knew it, we were off in a different direction, that's the nature of our LIVE events and that's one thing that makes them so interesting, but I wanted to revisit this topic here on the blog and add a few things that I wanted to say Saturday, but didn't get a chance to say.

Service members, police officers and fire fighters often laugh about things that would freak the average person out, or even offend them. In many ways, it's a coping mechanism. Milspouses have their own version of gallows humor, especially when it comes to some of the questions and comments we get from civilians. Laughing at them, or rolling our eyes, doesn't mean we hold civilians in contempt, far from it. So many big-hearted civilians have supported our troops and their families though some very difficult times, and continue to do so, and we sincerely appreciate the support.

But we can still laugh. And we do. And we are not laughing at other people as much as we're laughing at the how very unique our lives are and how hard it must be for the average person to relate to our circumstances. Sarah mentioned that when she was stationed in Germany, someone thought that soldiers commuted from Iraq to Germany on the weekends during the war. A couple of weeks ago, someone said to me that my husband must be making a lot of "overtime money." To us, that is hysterical.

While people were sharing their stories, I made a mental note to point out that these situations are sometimes an opportunity to give civilians some insight into military life. I've had some funny questions from civilians before, but they've mostly been from an uninformed or curious perspective, not a malicious one.

The topic came up at SBL because a milspouse told me during the break that she was having such a good time being in a room full of people who "understood." She lives in a predominately civilian area and in this forum, nobody had to explain themselves. She could relate to everything that was being said and she needed that. We all need that on occasion.

gallows humor: the milspouse versionFunction: nounDate: 2009: humor not intended as humor that military spouses find entertaining

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