When an item reaches the top slot on Reddit, it is all but guaranteed that story, image, or video will receive at least a few hundred thousand page views, maybe more. Today, at time of writing, that top post contains a link to a graphic picture of a young couple that apparently fell to their deaths after a window pane they were leaning on broke while they were having sex.
The image is gruesome, though it is not particularly gory. A halo of blood surrounds the woman, who landed on a brick sidewalk. The man fell on grass, and his wounds are less visible. Both lie face down, outstretched, their young bodies newly void of pulse.
For a second, each Reddit user is is alone with his thoughts, before he or she scrolls down to the comment section.
"That's fucking horrible," puns Trepanationby45, in the most-upvoted comment, and the first that appears below the image link.
"That's horrible fucking," quips ani625.
"The mood was shattered," says poop_giggle.
"They won't make that fucking mistake again," says ARGUMENT_GENERATOR, chiming in on a separate thread.
"They both went through a lot of pane," says STOP_RESISTING_SIR.
The puns keep on flying, like fingers over a keyboard. But soon, though, the mood is tempered by the admission of conflicting emotions.
ani625, for one, soon appears to be having second thoughts about that wisecrack.
"Apart from all the fun and humor in the situation, this is just a really sad thing to happen," ani says.
"Where exactly do you see the fun and humor .-." says NickDerpkins, who had been sitting on the sidelines until now.
"Check the comments. It sure seems funny to us redditors," INSANITY_RAPIST counters.
"I am actually constantly sickened at how every thread which is someone dying (or similarly sad) is filled with these shitty, low effort puns. Two people just died..."That shattered their relationship!" HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA," mulimulix says. That stokes the ire of FoBUNiT73, who, sensing some moralizing intruding on the pun-fest, says:
"a lot of people die everyday and the sad truth is unless you know them personallywho gives a shit about them. so why does it bother you or why does it bother you that people dont care."
"Well then, I certainly look forward to mocking your death!" Johnny Utah shoots back.
"I'm dying to hear what you have to say about it," says goomonkey.
Despite the efforts to revive the mood, the fun seems to have spoiled. Someone has to say something.
"How do we process the inexplicable, the bizarre, the grotesque? With humor," BRBaraka ventures, after dropping a Mel Brooks quote. "There's no cruelty here, no one knows these people. No calculated hate or intent to harm someone's feelings, just the honest human reaction to something way over the top."
poop_giggle agrees, perhaps having second thoughts of his own.
"The humor helps temporarily fill the voids where our soul and compassion should be," he notes.
And with that, thousands of Redditors' thoughts turn, however briefly, to the eternal embrace.