The Hilarious Gallows Humor of Warriors in Training

Wars have plagued humankind from the beginning. They permeate the pages of history, and, because of this, they have also been the source of much literature. History is one kind of storytelling; literature is another. History is about the facts of the events, like the dates, places, and people that were involved, whereas literature’s general purpose is to examine, reflect upon, reveal the more transcendent causes and effects of war. And then there is the uniquely human quality of humor that looks at the foibles of human behavior with a paradoxical eye.

Humor is a complex human characteristic and comes in many forms. It can be satirical, aggressive, self-enhancing, or self-deprecating; it can be experienced in the form of wordplay, as in puns, or in deadpan or dry humor, and it can be dark, juvenile, farcical, or sarcastic. It can also take the form of physical or slapstick comedy. Or it can be a combination of forms. This video is of the latter type. It is in part dark, juvenile, and farcical and is done in a purely slapstick style. It is the natural kind of humor found in young men who are, in this case, involved in a very serious profession that sometimes involves the potential for real life-threatening danger. Humor is a way of dealing with the deeper inner psychological realities of life and helps us “see” reality and deal with it in a different – and one might say healthy – way.

Photo: YouTube/Biff…

This is pure slapstick humor. The “joust” in medieval times was both a means of training for war and a way of resolving issues between knights or realms. It was something not taken lightly but with a real attention to seriousness. It is the kind of thing that was common to great pieces of medieval literature from “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” and the “Tales of King Arthur” to “Don Quixote.” These literary works looked at the transcendental questions around the knightly virtues of loyalty, courage, honesty, and integrity, etc.

The “jousting” event you will see in the video here is a hilarious, well-conceived and enacted piece of slapstick. It is probably a fact that the young soldiers involved in this spur-of-the-moment barracks fun had not the slightest literary thought about the horseplay they were engaged in here. What brought up the idea to do this, we have no clue here. But the idea of the “jousting tournament” is pure satire, gallows humor in its most fun and hilarious form, that is, outright, unabashed, full-blown physical humor. It is all here: the knightly warriors in camo uniforms, wearing their armor, in this case, their helmets – they ride their noble steeds, yellow mop buckets, with their broom-lances and their garbage-can-lid-shields, intent on victory, charging at full speed ahead, without concern for life or limb. My favorite moment is at the end when the “victor” shouts, “My point!” and brings his broom-lance down upon the pate (helmet) of his fallen opponent with panache.

Photo: YouTube/Biff…

This bit of slapstick hilarity was clearly a successful moment of great fun and a good laugh for these barracks “warriors.” It was not without its own risks, of course. These happy idiots could have gotten seriously hurt, but in the nature of youth, and in the mentality of the warrior, such things are either not considered or not taken seriously. And you can bet that there was real competition here. Tell me they didn’t want to win. But that is the point, isn’t it? Gotta love the laughter from the guy doing the filming.

In the end, real fun was had by all in this moment of barracks antics. And because we live in the age of smartphones and the internet, we get to get in on the fun as well. Enjoy this moment of hilarity. It is pure, adolescent, twenty-something jocularity and raucous satire at its best. God bless them all.

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