Monday, August 11, 2008

Humor in EMS

After my update post this morning, I began to think about some funny calls that I have responded to over the years. After smiling and laughing to myself for a second, I was then reminded that our humor in emergency services is a singular one. One that can often be construed by the general public as being crass or uncaring.

It's easy for us to forget that the rest of the world doesn't experience things the way we do. And in that capacity, we have a habit of developing an "interesting" humor about things. The easiest way I've found to describe this to people who are not in the field is this. We have very few options when it comes to our feelings about the things that we see out there. After all, for the most part we're seeing people during probably the hardest moments in their lives, how could we joke about that. Well, either we joke about it or keep it all inside and take everything to heart. Those that have followed the second option are doomed to burn out or drive themselves, their loved ones or their partners up a wall.

When this topic comes up, I am reminded of a sign the use to be posted in one of the inner city ER's I use to frequent. I love to quote it because it breaks the issue down succinctly.

"Please excuse us if we are laughing or appearing to be having a good time. This may cause you to think that we are uncaring but please understand, it's how we deal with things."

Need I say more? I just wanted to explain for those that may visit here, so that they won't come away with a bad taste in their mouth because some of the humor might be misunderstood.

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