Schadenfreude, High School Revisited, and Counting My Blessings

schadenfreude (n): Malicious enjoyment derived from observing someone else’s misfortune.

Leave it to me to come out of the clear blue sky with a new (to some) vocabulary word.  I have to say (confession time) that I have been at times most guilty of finding glee in other people’s disasters, especially when I observe those who appear to richly deserve a bit of cosmic justice.  I definitely have to confess to engaging in a bit of schadenfreude Saturday morning when I saw Jerry passed out on the bed, bare-assed, after an evening at the hell hole, his bewetted pants on the floor, with a piece of the front garden fencing still entangled in them.  It was all I could do to keep from grabbing the camera to catch some very unfortunate pics, because I know my uncontrollable laughing would wake his sorry ass up.  I learned years ago, let sleeping drunks lie.  It’s much quieter that way.  Besides, refraining from capturing the moment in pictorial posterity was as close to sympathy as I could get.

I should go ahead and fix the fence for aesthetic reasons,  but I think  as far as the “rubbing the puppy’s nose in his bad dog doody” element goes, he should have to do it.  It’s a bloody miracle that he didn’t destroy the rose bush or get lacerated to shreds on it.  He did manage to get some minor abrasions on both forearms, presumably acquired by dragging himself across the (concrete) porch, but other than his pride, he was otherwise undamaged.  To hear him tell it though, he barely escaped death because I wouldn’t answer the phone at 1AM to pick his sorry ass up.   As if I was put on this earth to mollycoddle drunks.

Maybe I am too mean, but I’m not enabling his drunk-and-stupid adventures, especially at the hell hole.  If he insists on going over there and getting both plastered and ripped off at the same time, he can drag his happy ass the half a block over there and the half a block back.  This also makes it easier for his buddy who works with him- and conveniently lives across the road- to observe, comment and engage in a little schadenfreude himself as Jerry staggers across the road and drags himself across the porch.  I have no sympathy for the drunk-and-stupid episodes and I’m not losing any sleep over the cuts, wet pants and other embarrassment he garners for himself by his lack of self-control. The drunk-and-stupids are self inflicted punishments, not like the Fickle Finger of Fate targeting someone who did nothing to earn their misfortune. 

I wonder if leaving him to wallow in his stupidity is teaching him anything. The definition of stupidity, after all, is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.  He’s probably not learning a damned thing by being left to drag himself, the fence and his dampened drawers in, but again, there is that dark entertainment factor.  I wish he would learn better, but if not, I am going to find the humor in it.  At least this time he only lost $40 because I took the rest of his money, and his plastic before he left.  At least if nothing else, I’m learning.

I decided I am actually going to go to my 25th high school reunion- not to gloat over others’ misfortunes- but just out of my own curiosity.  Some people have changed so much I’d never recognize them, while others appear to be frozen in time.  That’s not necessarily a good thing, and when I go to these sorts of events, I generally remember there are often good reasons why I haven’t seen certain people for decades.  I know I have changed- hopefully for the better-and I (and they) live in different spheres.  What meant the world to me 20+ years ago might only register on the periphery, if at all, today.

I have a lot less patience in my cougardom than I did as a young punk- and a lot less tolerance for bullshit.   I am thankful that age does buy a certain amount of gravitas.   I don’t know if what I say actually does carry more authority- because I’ve been saying the same things all along- or that other people are finally catching up to my point of view.  Maybe they’re just tired of challenging me, who knows? 

I am grateful that I am not, like one of my sister’s friends, 42 years old with a four year old, a two year old- and in the middle of a nasty divorce.   I have all the sympathy in the world for her plight.  She didn’t deserve to be treated the way her POS old man treated her, and I find no joy in seeing someone suffer like that.  I got the nasty divorce over with sixteen years ago.  Steve-o is potty trained and literate and hopefully someday soon will be gainfully employed.  It’s not so bad being 42 with a 20 year old kid, but I couldn’t imagine dealing with a toddler at my age.  Dogs I can handle, but not those damned car seats, or the whining, or the worries about daycare and how to do this and afford that, etc. 

Speaking of dogs I am still waiting to hear about Sheena.  She’s having a mammary growth removed today (second go-round with mammary growths) and I am hoping this is benign.  I thought having her spayed would resolve the problem but apparently not.  She might come back with a total mastectomy (removal of both mammary chains) or with just the one growth removed, depending on what the Vet thinks.  The thing that aggravates me most is that if she had been treated properly and spayed early when she was younger she would never have gotten mammary growths.  However, I am glad that we got her away from the goofy rednecks who kept on breeding her even though it’s downright stupid to breed a dog who is already a crossbreed and who has hip dysplasia.  I wonder if they are in jail or if they just skipped town.  The tetanus farm has been deserted, so who knows?

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