Thomas Wictor

Laughing in the face of death

Laughing in the face of death

Israel and the terrorist organization Hamas—also part of the Palestinian government—are going at it again. Hamas fires missiles, mortars, and rockets into Israeli population centers, which has prompted Israel to build the Iron Dome, an anti-missile defense system. This is real science-fiction stuff that was deemed impossible only a few years ago. As the missiles rain down, Israelis are laughing in the face of death. Watch the Iron Dome intercept incoming rockets.

Translation provided by Joe Schmoe.

00:09 - Look!
00:19 - How many!!!
00:20 - Rami! Rami! (Person’s name)
00:27 - God, let me wake up tomorrow! God, let me wake up tomorrow! God!
00:39 - I’m not kidding, there is going to be shrapnel falling here soon, we have to move!
00:52 - God!
00:56 - [Grad rocket hits]
01:04 - It’s a ground hit, ground hit.

Hamas shoots Grad rockets at Israel. This is the Grad and its launcher.

The Grad is an unguided missile. What Hamas does is aim a whole bunch at certain areas and let loose. Iran provides Hamas with its Grads. In fact, Iran provides Hamas with the Grad, the WS-1e, and the Fajr 5. Syria gives Hamas the Khaibar M-302. Hamas has an arsenal of about 10,000 rockets and missiles.

Both the US and Israel have created technology that can knock projectiles out of the air. The US has the C-RAM (Counter Rocket, Artillery, and Mortar), a computer-controlled Gatling cannon.

More science-fiction that’s now reality. Iran will never create equivalent technology. The Iranians like to pretend; for example, they announced that they’d built a stealth fighter, the Qaher 313.

It’s a toy, made of plastic. Aviation experts were unanimous that it can’t possibly fly, but you don’t have to believe them. Use your own eyes: Look how the canopy distorts the view of the Iranian flag behind it. A pilot in the cockpit highchair wouldn’t be able to see if he tried to take that sham off the ground.

That’s one reason Israelis laugh as missiles drop on them. Israel is fighting people who live in a world of fantasy. You laugh when your enemies are insane.

Another reason Israelis laugh is because Hamas thinks that God will help them kill all the Jews. It’s in Article Seven of the Hamas charter.

Hamas has been looking forward to implement Allah’s promise whatever time it might take. The prophet, prayer and peace be upon him, said: The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him! This will not apply to the Gharqad, which is a Jewish tree.

Did you know that trees can belong to a religion? Hamas believes they do. What else can you do but laugh?

Trauma can also make people laugh in the face of death. After enough is done to you, a circuit breaker trips, and you start to find it funny. It’s gallows humor, but that’s the best kind. Here’s a joke told to me by a Jew.

Two Jews are being marched into a courtyard to be executed by firing squad.

“Screw it,” says one. “I’m going to demand a last cigarette.”

“Don’t!” says the other. “You’ll get us in trouble!”

I’ve completely lost my fear of death, due to trauma and knowing too much. However, of equal impact in my evolution from terror to serenity is my unshakable belief that death is not the end. Tim and I laugh about our deaths all the time. We hope we’ll live long enough to get out of the failed state of California and have, say, five years of relative quality time before we take the plunge.

But I live as though every second could be my last. I don’t find it morbid or depressing in the least. For one thing, every second could be my last. More importantly, this mindset keeps me from wasting precious time and allows me to shed hopelessly destructive people without feeling guilty.

On October 7, 2011, I was diagnosed with Meniere’s disease. By that night all my chronic rage had fallen away. I thought it was permanent, but I was wrong. That’s all right. I’ve accepted that long-term happiness is out of my reach. The best I can hope for is periods in which I’m not angry or deeply sad.

There’s no other way it could be. The upside is that when I do experience happiness, if becomes even more valuable. Now, I’m far more appreciative of kindness and beauty than I was three months ago, which was when I concluded my year-long research project and decided to write my next novel.

I didn’t realize until three months ago that people laugh in the face of death as a way of rendering impotent those who would terrorize us and deliberately make us suffer. Like my mother I’ve become a huge fan of mordant humor. There’s so much that I could never reveal, because it would horrify people into silence. That constantly happens to me anyway, when I’m just conversing.

People are so fragile. If I put on a one-man show and really unloaded, this would be the result.

I don’t mind. Recently I wrote that the black dog was visiting. I was wrong about that too; he actually lives inside me.

But I can still laugh at him.

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