Comedy is a subjective thing, but there are several forms of humor that human beings are pretty much hardwired to enjoy. For the most part, these are incidents in which people suffer bodily harm because of their own obliviousness to their surroundings. In the late '80s and early '90s, "America's Funniest Home Videos" effectively turned these basic touchstones of humor into pure liquid cash. Over the last few years, various YouTube videos have carried on the tradition. In a century, I'm sure future humans will have these images zapped directly into their brains.
Unfortunately, the impulse to laugh at others' misfortune is sometimes cruel. For proof, take the case of Boston Celtics rookie big man Fab Melo, who recently sustained a concussion during his ongoing stint with the Maine Red Claws of the D-League. Concussions are serious business and that stinks.
Celtics rookie Fab Melo suffered a concussion last weekend after bumping his head on the doorway in his Sioux Falls hotel room while the Maine Red Claws (Melo's NBA Development League assignment) were in South Dakota for back-to-back games against the Skyforce.
Melo was seen by the Red Claws medical staff and did not play in the team’s Monday afternoon game. On Wednesday, the Celtics recalled him to be evaluated by team doctors that night.
It's nice to hear the Celtics are taking the injury seriously. Of course, head coach Doc Rivers also made fun of Melo:
After seeing season, and potentially career, ending injuries over his tenure, Celtics head coach Doc Rivers took a more lighthearted approach to Melo's concussion.
"I think, what did you have? Manny being Manny?" he said, referencing former Boston Red Sox Manny Ramirez. "Five years when Fab's playing terrific for us here, we're going to have some Fab being Fab moments. He just took kind of a head start. … Literally."
I see what you did there, Doc. Next time, maybe ditch the wordplay and let the essential comedy of someone hitting his head on a doorframe speak for itself.
To be clear, I think it perfectly natural to laugh at something as goofy as someone named "Fab Melo" hitting his head on a doorframe. I only ask that we also feel for him, which the Celtics thankfully do, as evidenced by their administering all necessary tests after a concussion and ensuring that Melo is in good shape before sending him back into full-contact practices and competitive games. As fans, we also have a responsibility to balance our laughter with the knowledge that Melo suffered a serious injury that could theoretically cause him long-term discomfort and damage. The mature response here is to take the event for what it is in full, not just the parts that make us immediately happy or generally thoughtful about the problems of our peers.
Now, if you don't mind me, I'm going to watch this classic "Simpsons" clip of Hans Moleman taking a football to the groin. When one-dimensional cartoon characters get hurt, there's no need to feel sad!
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