The below is excerpted from a series of emails among my friends. Names deleted out of basic decency.
>>Might I point out my friend G. and her relationship with K....totally in his destructive grip.
>Hasn't he died yet!!!???
>>Yes, he did die. He fell down the stairs while he was visiting his family in Sweden. He might have been drinking ;)
>Ooooo... um, so I was totally kidding about him dying. I'm an ass!
>>Lol it's ok, it happened over a year ago. She moved to Sweden shortly after.
Things that make me laugh about the above exchange:
1) "Hasn't he died yet?" sounds exactly like the sort of contemptuous thing I would say about someone I strongly disliked. It's reassuring to see I'm not the only one who commits faux pas like this.
2) The cheeky "He might have been drinking" is both jaunty and cruel. To top it off, his death is reported with a winking smiley face emoticon.
3) The mortification upon reading the news comes through. The person who wrote it is a genuinely good person and I'm sure she blanched and crumbled a bit as she wrote those words.
4) The final line, while reassuring, reads like a non sequitur. Like Italian widows wearing black, one year is the expected period of time that should lapse before you start taking pleasure in another person's death or reporting it with smiley faces.