Schadenfreude is the German word for the feeling of joy you get when something bad happens to someone else. I used to think that it was a credit to the Germans that they had a word for such a delicious emotion, but lately I’ve begun to think that maybe it’s a credit to English that we don’t have one. After selflessly generating a whole lot of schadenfreude back in 2016 I’ve come to look at this emotion in a whole new way.
It’s one of those easy emotions, cheap and dirty, one that makes you feel great in the moment – for a moment – but that leaves you spiritually hungover with the residue of unpleasantness. Negative emotions, even the ones that paradoxically make us feel good in the moment, don’t leave us feeling good in the long run. Schadenfreude is just our worst, most bitter impulses being fed and validated. As Morrissey, the master of negative emotions, sang in We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful:
We hate it when our friends become successful
And if they’re Northern, that makes it even worse
And if we can destroy them
You bet your life we will
If we can hurt them
Well, we may as well
It’s really laughable
Ha, ha, ha
You see, it should’ve been me
It could’ve been me
Everybody says so
They say :
“Ah, you have loads of songs
So many songs
More songs than they’d stand.”
This song, pointedly, did not play at a wedding I attended last week.
Continue reading “Mudita At The Wedding”
If I were rich, I would be happy.
This thought came to me more than once this week while cleaning up trash and swabbing out toilets at my day job. But once I confronted the thought it melted away; two years ago today I was making about 400% more money and was about 200% unhappier. I wasn’t even that much more comfortable, to be honest. Somehow I managed to spend all of that extra money and had basically nothing to show for it.
“Money can’t buy you happiness” feels, when you’re poor, like one of the nastiest lies that rich people feed to you. It sounds like a maxim designed to keep you down, to make you stay satisfied with your wretched lot in life, to keep you from encroaching on their hallowed halls of aristocracy.
Continue reading “Elon Musk Is On A One-Man Mission To Prove Money Doesn’t Make You Happy”
The Wizard of Oz is one of my favorite movies, but I used to really hate the ending. I couldn’t get with Dorothy’s realization that there was no place like home, especially after she had been in candy-colored Oz and seen so many wonders. It felt like a cop out to me, like the movie just needed to end and it couldn’t end with this girl separated from her family forever.
Like so many other things in my life, I was wrong about the ending of The Wizard of Oz. Sure, Dorothy’s last lines are a little extreme (“And I’m not going to leave here ever, ever again, because I love you all!” Like, leave the door open for a nice vacation, or even a road trip), but it’s the insight she gets in her final moments at Oz that has become meaningful to me:
“And it’s that if I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, l won’t look any further than my own backyard… because if it isn’t there, l never really lost it to begin with.”
Continue reading “The Ending Of THE WIZARD OF OZ Isn’t Complete Bullshit After All”
It’s not just you – everybody’s having a hard time. Especially lately.
One way to help minimize that is to look at the hard time you’re having and to be mindful of how it’s impacting the way you act. Are you taking the angry, negative shit that’s flying around the world and passing it on to someone else, spinning the great lazy susan of misery after filling your plate with hate and hopelessness?
Decide that it ends with you, that it goes no further.
Continue reading “Stopping the Buck”