When it comes to my time in the Navy, I’m what you would call a “one and done” dude—one contract, and then it’s back out into the real world for me. I don’t really like to talk about my Naval career in-depth, but I will say that the last three years have not been a nice stroll across the flightdeck. It has included a lot of falls, resulting in lots of bleeding and bruises from the rough asphalt.
Oh, and Medical just tells me to drink water and change my socks in this analogy.
However, there is one thing that would make the six years of stress, frustration, and saltiness worth it. If I could just find the answer to one of the greatest mysteries I’ve found aboard my ship, my suffering will not have been in vain: Why did we seem to have plenty of toilet paper in the middle of the @#$%ing ocean but only have one bathroom’s worth in port?
Why? Also how? What am I missing?
(Like most questions that begin with “why” in the Navy, I’ve given up on this one for the moment.)
On one of my more recent journeys for a stocked stall, I bumped into my friend Bethany on the way back. Upon relaying my struggle, she frowned and raised an eyebrow.
“The female engineer’s berthing just got restocked. Why didn’t you just go there?”
Of course it was.
“Listen,” I say, looking for some way to save face, “I’m a trans man, not a smart man.”
Okay, so maybe my comment didn’t save me any face, but at least it made Bethany laugh.
On that note, I have a confession to make: I don’t, in fact, think I’m hilarious. At best, I’m mildly amusing. At worst, I’m lazy internet trash whose only claim to a comedy crown is stolen memes, but those memes tend to make people smile, so you’re welcome, Facebook!
As someone who loves to make people laugh, it strikes me as odd that so many people seem to bemoan the fact that it’s hard to be funny and make jokes these days—claiming people are too sensitive or everyone’s too concerned about political correctness to take a joke. How much of it is actually a fear of offense and how much of it is a new understanding on a macro-cultural level of what is true?
I think the best comedy always has a grain of truth to it, at least when it comes to spoken and written comedy. That truth is just put through a series of fun mirrors and funky lenses until it’s warped into something you or others find amusing. We still have plenty of those mirrors and lenses, but as we are learning that some “truths” aren’t true at all and therefore should not be put through the process.
For that, I’m actually grateful. If your “truth” is that certain groups of others deserve to be dehumanized, belittled, or to have their imago dei defaced in any other way, how much joy are you actually putting into the world with your humor? As a trans person, it’s pretty obvious that I’m in one of those groups, so I can tell you right now that the answer is “not as much joy as you think and plenty more harm.”
That’s not to say everyone’s ever going to have the same sense of humor, but is it too much to ask that we at least try to make it come from a light-hearted place where folks who are different are respected? This year’s been hard enough without sprinkling on additional cruelty through the most universal, accessible relief for pain. There’s plenty of other things to make folks laugh without resulting to cruelty
So, instead of using jokes to punch down on folks, let’s try to lighten each other’s load with more respectful sense of humor, better jokes, and, of course, dank memes.
Here, I’ll start:
You’re welcome, the post calvin!
Finnely King-Scoular (’14) is stationed at Naval Station Norfolk in Norfolk, VA, where he lives with his wife, Rosalind (’13). His writing, including the Faerie Court Chronicles series from NineStar Press, focuses on contemporary fantasy with an emphasis on LGBTQ+ representation.