One day, Dr. William Osler encountered his young niece as he was leaving a patient after a house call. "Is she very ill?" she girl asked. "Very ill -- I fear that she is apt to die," Osler replied, before breaking into a jaunty whistle. The girl, startled by the doctor's response, asked him to explained himself. "I whistle," he said, "that I may not weep."
[Among Osler's other coping mechanisms? Creating an alter ego (Egerton Y. Davis) to deal with noisome correspondents.]