A couple of months ago, a friend attributed a name to a notable phenomenon that has popped up on Facebook: the ‘funny cool’. See a flaw? Make a joke about it. Get likes. See a comment where someone neglected to think of possible innuendo prior to posting? Comment. Likes. This is funny cool. The more laughs, the more likes.
April Fools is a time for people to make ‘hilarious’ jokes. The more shock, the funnier the cool, the more attention. It is a special day for the funny cool, indeed. The perfect opportunity to gain more social media cred. The more likes, the more popular you are, the better. There is little care, or prior thought, of who could get hurt along the way. It is easier not to consider this. The pros outweigh the cons.
In the early hours of April 1st, I saw one. A pregnancy announcement for twins. Normally, I would just hide it and move on. However, I knew that at noon, when the funny cool really gets good, “April Fools” would be called and ‘hilarity’ would ensue. I was waiting for it. After all, it is shocking (and funny) to pretend you are pregnant, right? The likes were off the scale. I spoke up.
Now, I know this person is a kind person. There was no malicious intent. In fact, the person posted an apology, even. However, the damage was caused by the initial absence of thought, of a lack of consideration that just maybe this innocently intended ‘joke’ could be quite the opposite for someone else. There was little remembrance or care for the struggles some people are enduring. I’m sure there are others who wanted to speak up, but could not find the voice or the courage.
We do not, we cannot, know what people are going through if there is not a safe, supportive environment to do so. Some people are grieving the death of their child. Some people want but cannot have children. Infertility is loss. I have not experienced this – yet. However, I know now that I am not immune. I know now that everyone is vulnerable to loss – all types of it. The post did not directly impact me, but it is still insensitive to people I know who are struggling. When you are a part of a community, you stand by one another. You support each other. I wish this sentiment was as valued in the larger community of humanity, rather than sacrificing such support, such raw human interaction, in favour of the funny cool.
I know that I need to learn to let go. I know that in the grand scheme of things, these things should not matter. After all, it was “harmless”. However, the comments that followed, the comments about how people need to “lighten up” and learn how to take a “cute joke” were nothing short of ignorant, completely lacking in empathy. If only infertility, pregnancy and infant loss were not reality, if only they were “cute jokes” and we could call “April Fools” to make this nightmare go away. We do not need added pain, we need added care. We do not need to lose any more faith in the universe when we are already struggling to fit the pieces back together.
I understand the importance of being able to laugh. To be able to let go. These days this isn’t an easy feat, but I get it. However, it isn’t funny, nor cool, to make a joke out of pregnancy. Ever. Many people suffer loss. Many people suffer in silence.
People are losing touch with their humanity – their ability to be human with one another, to think of the needs of others before themselves. Life should not be about being the funniest or the coolest. The quality of one’s existence is not, and should not be, measured in likes.
Think before you post. Think twice. Three times. Your ‘funny cool’ may just be the reason another person continues to feel silenced.