I’m not laughing AT you, I’m laughing WITH you. Well, yes, I know you’re not laughing externally, but internally, once you carve through the overwhelming shame and embarrassment you’ll get to the humor part. Once you get there, you’ll realize we’re all laughing at the same thing. We’re laughing at the human experience. The at/with divide will shrink, it’s terminable, but the brief moment of happiness you created allowed for a brief reprieve from the general malaise of life!
Am I laughing at you in this moment? Sure, but isn’t all humor situational? I’m only laughing because what just happened to you is hilarious…as long as it isn’t me. And it wasn’t me! Thus, funny. Think about it, if it wasn’t you subjected to the crushing embarrassment and derision of your peers, wouldn’t you join in the malicious joy?
Did I ask if you were okay first? I didn’t? Yikes, sorry about that. That was rude of me. But this oversight was not due to a lack of concern but simply because the expression of hilarity combined with a visual assessment of the situation superseded a general concern for your well-being.
If we didn’t laugh, if I stopped laughing, or never laughed, would you really feel better? You’d still do the horribly inhuman thing of being a human and messing up as all humans do, but instead of the schadenfreude that your action invoked, we’d be forced into stunned silence. Would you prefer our judgmental stares to the brief joy that your mess-up afforded us?
Of course none of us want to be seen as lesser or as a source of derision, but there’s an art, a gift in debasing one’s self in such a manner that it doesn’t invoke pity, but rather a smile and delight. Who cares what direction the laughter is flowing? Who cares if you’re able to share in the laugh at the moment? Given enough time, you will look back and enjoy the enjoyment you gave others or that others enjoyed as a result. You created joy–albeit inadvertently–and now you want to take it away!?! What kind of person wants to rob people of joy? Are you a monster!?!