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Alberta Flood Victims Use Humor to Go With the Flow

My wife and I were among the tens of thousands of Alberta flood evacuees last week who had to go with the flow (literally) and board a bus with our duffel bags loaded with essential supplies, not the l east of which being our sense of humor. 943230_593760447334823_1250472721_nThere are hundreds of stories of heroism and generosity already circulating, and an equal number of stories showing how people forced from their homes packed their sense of humor along for the ride (the photo to the right was taken in Calgary). In fact, I thought the evacuation bus we boarded was going to break into song at any moment. The elderly Scottish man sitting next to me was grinning from ear to ear as he reeled off one-liners: “What did you pay for your tour, do you think we’ll get our money back?” By the next morning I was hearing more black humor: “I think we’ll need bigger floats for the parade this year.” And the increasingly popular refrain: “I always wanted beach front property.” Even our dear friends who have lost their home have adopted the mantra, “Well, it’s all just water under the home now.”

Someone asked me last week if it was too soon to joke about the flooding, given the loss of life and property. But gallows humor always plays a key role in helping people cope with tragic circumstances. Remember, there’s a difference between laughing at someone’s tragic circumstances, versus using humor to cope with tragedy. Laughing at something bigger than us all takes away its power and the fear of the unknown. It helps us regain control of our emotions. Humor empowers us, unites us and makes us stronger, and in the days, weeks and months ahead, Alberta is going to need all the good humor it can muster.


Michael Kerr,  June 27, 2013.  Michael is a funny business speaker, very funny motivational speaker, and international business trainer and speaker who helps organizations build more inspiring workplaces. 

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