Karma Cleanser - Did bad karma cause the house fire?
Dear Karma Cleanser:
A house in my neighborhood burned almost to the ground a few weeks ago. We, my husband and I, were not particularly friendly with the family who lived in the house. They were a rude middle-aged couple who never did their yard work and were known as complainers to the rest of the neighborhood.
My husband has greeted the news of their tragedy with something close to glee. He and our 12-year-old son have started a running joke about how "hot" the real estate is in our part of the county, and they laugh every time we drive past the burned-out home. I am mortified by anyone taking pleasure in such a calamity. I confronted my husband about it and he just shrugged off my concerns. Their house burned down because they were such lousy neighbors, he says. I don't agree. Please tell me I'm right.
-- Fire with Ire
You're both right. In an era when it's verboten to crack jokes in an airport lest you be hauled off to Guantanamo, your husband's simply participating in a centuries-old tradition of off-color humor. All comedy comes from the misfortune of others (think about it).
But what's questionable is his enlisting your son as laugh track. At 12, the boy's probably not quite old enough to realize how serious and devastating something like a house fire can be. You should force both of the callous men in your life to personally visit the family in need, and then see how long their jocundity lasts.