Our friend Ammo Grrrll reflects on SCHADENFREUDE. She writes:
Many years ago, when I still had to navigate the Minnesota highways in winter, I had one of those experiences that fall under the category of Schadenfreude. That is, of course, a fancy word for taking unseemly pleasure when someone is hoisted on his own petard.
Petards being in short supply generally, my first Schadenfreude involved a car.
After a couple of terrifying spin-outs, one with my 3-year-old baby in the car, I admit that I was a very cautious winter driver. On this day, we had icy, blizzard conditions, and I was driving on the freeway in the hinterlands. A red Corvette was tailgating my slow-moving little Saturn, honking and giving me the finger in a very un-Minnesotan manner. The approved method of indicating driving dismay in Minnesota is to pull even with the offender, make eye contact, and shake your head slowly while clucking your teeth.
The guy would not let up. Though I was in the right lane, he was clearly demanding that I drive faster and refusing to go around me. After many scary miles of almost touching my bumper, he pulled around in fury and gunned it. I had nearly pitted out my down coat and was very happy to see him go.
Not five miles down the road I saw just the top of a red Corvette buried in the right-hand snowbank. I’m pretty sure the Christian – and definitely the Jewish – thing to do would have been to stop to offer assistance. But, it was only a few short weeks until Spring thaw, and I didn’t want to ruin his teachable moment. I’m confident he couldn’t hear the giddy laughter over Merle Haggard singing about always being on a mountain when he falls.
The second memorable Schadenfreude event happened in the Ritz Carlton hotel in Naples, Florida. My room was not ready when I checked in. They apologized profusely, and I was waiting patiently in the lobby, sipping on the third tropical drink that was supplying the patience.
At last, the front desk clerk motioned for me to come up to the desk to get my keys. Before I could get there, a furious young woman pushed ahead of me, nearly knocking me over. She was dressed in designer clothes from head to toe. Her purse and briefcase cost more than everything in my closet put together, including the exercise bike behind the muu-muus. With no offense to Scott, John or Paul, I’m pretty sure she was a young lawyer. She was waving the room assignment she had in her beautifully-manicured hand.
She harangued the desk clerk in a loud imperious tone: “I clearly informed you that I wanted a room on the water when I made this reservation! This is completely unacceptable. How can you people be so incompetent?? You have put me on the golf course!”
And the desk clerk replied in that icy, yet courteous tone mastered by gay men: “Madam, ALL our rooms are on the water. We do not have a golf course. That room is on the Gulf.”
Oh Lord, I wish y’all had been there. Sadly, this time my laughter was not covered by Merle. If looks could kill, your humble humor columnist would not be alive at this time.
And so, this brings us to the present day and Barack Hussein Obama, mmm, mmm, mmm.
He is still our President, the only one we’ve got, and Commander in Chief in what may or may not be “war”-time, depending on the spokes-tool or the definition du jour of “war” or “terrorist” or “Islamic.” Bill was only unsure of the definition of “is.” Clearly, this whole crew needs a good dictionary.
When I think of the way that President Bush was treated by a sniping Mr. Vote Present and the left-wing of his party with the towers still smoking on the ground, it is really hard not to feel some measure of Schadenfreude that The Ocean Lowerer is being swamped by events. You can take months to decide which puppy most reminds you of the lapdogs in your press corps. You know they will wait forever, tails wagging, legs twitching, with their little reporter’s notebooks in their teeth. But you cannot dither forever acting on intelligence to rescue a hostage without disastrous consequences and “bad optics.”
I clearly remember a discussion in the letters section of the Minneapolis paper about whether it was moral to hope for America’s war plan to succeed if it meant that the Evil “Bushitler” – gosh, what cleverness! – would get credit for it.
I’d like to think that our side is better than that. Or at least better than me.