Schadenfreude: The Cure For What Ails You

While putting this post together, I discovered a new word. A BIG word. It was a big, multi-syllabic word. And I absolutely love learning new and big, multi-syllabic words! I love it so much, in fact, that I had to use it in the title. So here goes… The dictionary defines the German word “schadenfreude” as: satisfaction or pleasure felt at someone else’s misfortune.

Last Tuesday night I was in a bit of a mood. I came home, wandered around the house like a lost puppy and plopped, sullenly, onto the floor. I wondered if perhaps changing out of my work clothes would make me feel better. I selected a warm sweatshirt, about two sizes too big, a pair of soft, velour pants and my coziest, fuzziest socks.

“Yes, I think this will help.” I told myself. But as I tried to remove the clothes I WAS wearing… I threw a miniature hissy fit when my blouse got stuck around my shoulders. “GET OFF OF ME!!” I screamed at the stubborn garment while tugging wildly and jumping around. It’s a miracle I didn’t rip it apart at the seams. When I was finally free from it’s death-grip, I flung it on the bed and stomped my feet with extra fervor like some form of bodily punctuation.

All evening I could not shake free of the funk’s torment as successfully as I had the blouse. Wherever I went—fuzzy socks and all—“the mood” went with me. What in the world was the matter with me? Nothing negative of note had happened during the course of the day. So why then, was I so… frazzled? Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that it gets DARK an hour after I get home? That’s it! Maybe I have SAD (seasonal affective disorder)! Ah-Ha!… finally a scapegoat for which to blame the day’s general malaise.

Both Lee and Stan looked at me quizzically as I slogged through the motions of the end of the day. I’m sure they figured it had something to do with being female and wanted no part of it. Finally, around nine o’clock, I decided that “the mood” wasn’t going to lift anytime soon and perhaps it was best just to surrender. There would be no cheering up on this day. Or so I thought when I went to bed and flipped on the TV… And discovered the beginning of a brand new season of Hoarders!

Think what you will. Judge if you must. But I believe that this program (and so many like it) was created for the very purpose of helping US feel better about ourselves. You know, all the reality shows centered around such crippling addictions, strange behaviors, eccentricities and odd proclivities that they make us feel like we’ve truly got it all together?

I am convinced that there is nothing that quite lifts a person’s spirits as much as witnessing the suffering, insanity and lunacy of countless, anonymous others willing to put their “crazy” on display for the world to see. Schadenfreude in it’s purest, money-making form. Why else would these programs be such a huge hit if it weren’t so therapeutic to watch the personal, intimate struggles of others?

And if you think I am a horrible person for making this hideous (but true) public admission or you already knew the meaning of the word schadenfreude, then by all means you definitely ought to come away from this reading experience feeling better about yourself… for you are more intelligent and sensitive and not NEARLY as shallow and insane as me. And doesn’t that brighten YOUR day?

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12 thoughts on “Schadenfreude: The Cure For What Ails You

  1. JT says:

    Actually what would brighten my day is a nice cup of that Hot Chocolate from your previous post. Hoarders I have yet to watch this…of coarse there are hoarders of the mind as well I imagine that could cause quite a funk trying to keep to much inside 🙂 Me… I am a food hoarder but I store it all from the neck down 😀

  2. Ha! Love this. There’s something oddly comforting about the Hoarders for sure. I sometimes even take away some satisfaction from my own friend’s misfortune. The other day I was in a pissy mood, so I decided to text my best friend hoping to vent. She told me she was going to class on two hours of sleep, and I thought, at least that’s not happening to me!

  3. I agree with you! It either makes me feel much better or I have an insane need to clean up and throw out. Or you could also watch the YouTube videos about the peppy, cheery girl with no arms. Actually though that made me sad. Even though she has an good attitude to outdue mine by miles.

    • Yeah… REALLY real sad stuff makes me cry. I don’t actually have the cold heart of stone that I pretend to… but for one reason… HOARDERS makes me feel all better about my situation 😉

  4. Don says:

    I live alone, and that’s usually fine by me. There’s a freedom that I enjoy in it. But I swear, one of the nice things about having a girlfriend –one with a delightful sense of humour anyway–would be seeing her have a mild hissy fit while struggling with a garment as you described. I can see the image in my head, and it’s hilarious.

    Oh, the little things in life that make it worthwhile. Oh, wait. I don’t have that. Rats! Well, by golly, I have. . . hmmm. What do I have? . . . mutters, while signing off.

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