When People Say Funny Things When Animals Attack

I go to CNN.com sometimes in the hopes that something terrible has happened that might provide me with a good excuse to stop working for a moment. I am rarely thus rewarded. That said, I did buy myself a few moments of happiness today with this video of a Maine man being attacked by a moose:

The best part of the video was when the man says, “The only thing that I could think of was what I could put between myself and the moose.” Not only did I laugh out loud, I wondered if this line was in fact funnier than the last funny thing I heard after an animal attack. And, yes, I know, this isn’t really funny, because someone died.


Does anyone remember the shark attack in the Intracoastal Waterway in Florida back in 2000? Thadeus Kubinski, 69, and his wife, Anna, went swimming near their dock in St. Petersburg Florida, in just five feet of water. Kubinski was attacked and killed, and Anna, though too distraught to speak to the media, told her son that she saw a dorsal fin that was “just like the Jaws situation.” For years I have been repeating this line to myself; perhaps now I will repeat, “The only thing I could think of was what to put between myself and the moose.”

I’m wondering if this habit of saying absurdly funny things in the wake of an animal attack is, like, a thing. I looked up the 2003 tiger attack on Roy Horn, of Siegfried and Roy. First of all, People Magazine called their story “Savage Betrayal,” and that’s pretty funny in its own right. And then, there it was, just as I suspected: an audience member, one Dagmar Rethmann, from northern Germany, watching the show where Horn was attacked, was quoted as saying “Roy told the tiger to lay down, and he didn’t.”

No, Dagmar, he certainly didn’t.

Why do people say such weird, strangely funny, deadpan things when animals attack? Do you know? (I already looked up the Komodo dragon/Phil Bronstein thing, and it was kind of a wasteland, other than some murmurings that Bronstein wanted to go in the cage because he had a “fondness” for the dragons.) Do you have any good animal attacks quotes I can repeat to myself for private, guilty giggles? I’m looking for another Jaws situation.

Previously: Two Ways to Order a Shake

Sarah Miller is the author of Inside the Mind of Gideon Rayburn and The Other Girl. She lives in Nevada City, CA. Follow her on Twitter @sarahlovescali.

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