From a friend who now lives an hour away; we were with a group having drinks after a concert. Discussing our children, I asked about her daughter.
“Oh, she’ll be fine, as long as her father stays in jail.”
We both laughed, almost hysterically. I think she was as surprised as I by what had come out of her mouth.
UPDATE (7/21): At least one reader was upset by this and didn’t find it funny. When I originally wrote it, I knew it would be hard to communicate. I hesitated to post it, and perhaps that would have been the better course. I may make matters worse by trying to explain further, but here goes. The father in this case really is in jail, for possession of child pornography, and through episodes of tremendous financial irresponsibilty and emotional instability he has had more ill effect on his daughter than good. He may have some great qualities, and I’m sure he loves his daughter, but it is genuinely appropriate that he’s incarcerated. There’s never been any hint that he ever sexually abused his daughter, as far as I’m aware, and we’re all grateful for that. The overall situation itself isn’t funny, of course. It’s tragic. What was funny–to us at the time, anyway– was the unexpected and ironically light-hearted and matter-of-fact way the comment came out. Who makes casual conversation about something usually considered shameful? My friend has never talked about this situation with me before. There was a wonderful, warm, and open vibe, and it just came out. Humor comes from surprise, and is often a way of releasing tension. Both were the case with this.