I really did say that to Mary. The thing about having a rotten weekend.
OK. Here’s the deal. I don’t want any of you to have a bad weekend. It’s just that we are going to Arizona to visit my folks for a few days and I want the weather to be beautiful there.
Now the cruel flip side, is that while I am gone, I really want the weather to nasty here… and I feel kind of bad about that.
Why is that? Why do we (you can admit it!) get that little lift of pleasure when something goes wrong for someone else.
We have all watched celebrities, politicians and religious leaders go off the rails and over the cliff with a certain amount of satisfaction. There is a weird thrill in watching a slow moving train wreck. After all, isn’t that really the whole purpose of reality TV?
In her piece, she quotes John Portmann, University of Virginia professor and author of When Bad Things Happen to Other People. The German word schadenfreude is pieced together from two others—freude, the plural of joy, and schaden, the plural of shame or pity. “It’s literally joys that come from sorrows or sufferings.”
However, Grimaldi also goes on to say, “What I find interesting is that no such word or phrase exists in American English. (Whether the word “epicaricacy,” which has Greek roots, qualifies is subject to debate.) Certainly, there is no piecing together “shame” and “joy” to make “shamejoy,” as in German. Shame and joy are antithetical, distant, never meant to share the same bed.”
“That’s because schadenfreude does not square with America’s national obsession with the comeback story. Sure, we snicker along with the rest of the world when others stumble, but our culture is built on possibility. Here, the harder you fall, the greater the potential to get the hell back up—at least in theory.”
So maybe I’m being un-American when I hope the weather is bad here while I am lying by the pool there. Un-American? That’s pretty strong for just hoping for a little wind and rain!
So because I am a Good American, I hope you all have a great weekend!
(Especially Mary!) And I really hope you have Great Weather while I am gone. And I will be back in the office on Wednesday morning…which is all I was trying to say anyway. (Other than I am going to work on that schadenfreude thing.)
*** Side note: Forecast for Fargo this weekend calls for close to 50 degrees with some sun. Not too bad. ***
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