Man's Reaction to Falling in Muddy River Delights Internet: 'Laughing Now'

A man's misfortune on an autumnal walk has delighted viewers on TikTok, with one user commenting, "This is hilarious."

In the video, which has been viewed more than 2.2 million times, the boyfriend of TikToker Erica can be seen slipping down a mudbank into a river, frantically trying to save his phone from the water, while a yellow Labrador looks on.

Falling over
Stock image of a man falling on the sidewalk. Some experts believe that when we laugh at people who have fallen over, it could also be an involuntary way to express relief or satisfaction that it wasn’t you who took the tumble. Ivan-balvan/Getty Images

Erica can be heard laughing in the video, while the caption reads, "Lovely Sunday morning, he's fine and laughing now btw!!" In a later comment, Erica wrote, "We started recording so we could get the dog swimming, it was so unexpected still laughing now!!"

In an article for Men's Health magazine, psychologist Robert Provine, Ph.D, explained that we often laugh at unexpected things. Jyotsna Vaid, Ph.D, a professor of psychology at Texas A&M University, said that "chuckling could also be an involuntary way to express relief or satisfaction that it wasn't you who took the tumble."

An article for the India Times read: "Researchers at Stanford University who study humor sought to give a plausible explanation as to why it's so damn funny when someone takes a misstep and falls down.

"Apparently, it's this phenomenon known as 'Play Frame, which puts a real-life event in a non-serious context and allows for an atypical psychological reaction.'

"Play frame can be the answer to why most of us don't find it funny if someone falls from a 20-floor building and dies; as the falling person's distress doesn't allow the establishment of the non-serious context. But if a woman casually walking down stairs trips and falls hopelessly as she stumbles on her bum, the play frame gets established and we observers find it hilarious."

In an interview with Refinery29, physician and medical author Alex Lickerman said that when we laugh after either we or others fall over, "we're signaling ourselves that whatever horrible thing we've just encountered isn't really as horrible as it appears, something we often desperately want to believe," equating this kind of laughter to a trauma response.

If this is true, laughing when people fall over could come from a desire to gloss over the event, rather than from a nasty place.

@ericahore

Lovely sunday morning 🫶🏽✨ hes fine and laughing now btw!! #fyp

♬ sonido original - Sr. Lucifer
@ericahore

TikToker matzxzzz wrote that "people panic about phones but like they're mostly waterproof/water resistant these days."

Cat Schouten commented: "Not him throwing the phone like 'SAVE THE PHONE!'" while suzannejreid wrote: "The dog, he was like oh wow dad you're going for a swim?!!."

Newsweek has reached out to Erica for comment.

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