The following is a true story:
One Summer I worked as an arts and crafts tutor at a London hospital in a ward for seriously sick or injured children. It was a heartbreaking job, and I certainly do not relate the following information because I think it’s in any way amusing.
Just before I started work at the hospital, a new swimming pool had been opened and then immediately closed again. The reason given in the local newspaper was vague, stating only that a child had been injured, and that the pool had been closed in order to address 'safety issues'.
When I had been working at the hospital for a while, I found out that the boy who had been injured was still there (although not on the ward where I was working). One of the nurses subsequently told me as much of the story as I was able to listen to.
Apparently, this young teenager had been surreptitiously 'experimenting' with a smooth hole that he'd found in the wall of the pool. Either he didn't know or he didn't realize the consequences of the fact that this hole forcefully expelled water periodically in order to create a whirlpool effect. The nurse relating this to me put her hands together at this point and then drew them apart suddenly, making a squelching noise, then said under her breath, "His penis was destroyed".
It is literally true that I lost sleep over this. I was unable to get the image out of my mind for weeks afterwards and would sometimes involuntarily moan and shudder when I thought of it.
If you’ve ever come across a nurse or paramedic who has an extremely sick sense of humor (and they are in the majority, in my experience) then I believe this story amply demonstrates why that is: it is necessary to find some way of coping with such tragedies in order to continue to deal with them usefully, and humor is one of the most effective coping mechanisms we have. I don't even want to be able to laugh about this story though.
Node history: this was originally a 'nodeshell rescue'. It had a very long title, which has now been changed at the request of an administrator.