Dr. Schadenfreude: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Laughing at Others

Posted on December 30, 2011


Greetings, before we start today I would like you to listen to this song for a quick intro of what exactly Schadenfreude is. If you already know just listen anyways because it is a funny song. If you already heard the song, then uhh.. read.

Great now let’s carry on!

Everyday I do as many of us do, check the rounds on Facebook, whether it is to see how my old friends are doing, or creep on some very cute girl (you all do it, just admit it).  In my daily reading of what’s going on with the people around me I stumble across statuses from people who quite frankly aren’t the coldest beer in the fridge. Normally these statuses’ consist of “F*** Haters”, “Swag so mean” “I’m da reallest” or anything else along these lines. Sometimes however these said individuals make Facebook their soapbox and tell the world just how friggin’ pissed off they really are! When this happens my friends, I tend to find the comfiest part of my house, sit back, and relax and enjoy the show.

I’ll give you an example. To protect the innocent, and more importantly my ass we will call this individual person A.

Person A: “lol been there ran that if i remember the whole neighborhood did too something like a 150 lol”

Now in translation this means: “I had sexual encounters with that person, and so did a plethora of other kind gentlemen maybe around 150 guys”. Needless to say Person A pissed off this said individuals significant other, and a Facebook fight ensued, nothing new but still funny nonetheless. Yes Person A is probably pissed off that their love interest is now banging another dude, and while that happens to a lot of people including myself I still can’t help but think… DAMN STEFAN! I AM HAPPY THAT IS NOT YOU! And folks I am here to tell you that there is nothing wrong with getting a laugh at the expense of others. I have been in situations that I am not proud of, and I can say with 10000% confidence that the stuff I posted did make someone’s day. It’s just human nature to get a laugh at the misfortunes of others. We’ve done it since we were little asshole kids, and we’ll do it when we’re senile and barry poops himself in the senior living home.

What we should do to make this harsh reality a little more tolerable is to embrace it. I like to think I embrace the human nature of Schadenfreude, I’ll admit I laugh when I find people I went to high school with with talk about how they are doing drugs, or their boyfriend is always flirting with other guys, and/or whatever other drama they have going on in their lives, because I know that I am beyond happy that it is them and not me. However I know full heartedly that when I post something stupid that happened in my life, that others are sitting behind their computer having a grin because of my misfortune.

Does this make you or myself bad people? … hell no. I know what is laughable and what is not and the ability to distinguish the two is very important. But I would be as bold as to say that you are an absolute liar if you have never taken pleasure in someone else’s misfortunes. It’s on one the reasons people watch Nascar, and why people watch the first few episodes of American Idol. We want to watch people fail, and we want them to fail miserably so that we can feel a little bit better about ourselves. But If you think this is just a product of our generation how about you take 28 minutes out of your life and watch an episode of “Queen for a Day” a game show that ran for 8 years in the 50’s and 60’s (the good old days my 21 year old ass, but I’ll save that for another day) which basically consisted of women lamenting over whose life was worse and the winner (or loser depending on your outlook)  was chosen by the audience and that individual won a prize for having the worst life (why a version of this isn’t airing on FOX is beyond me). Here I’ll make it easy for you, watch!

So folks it really is better just embrace it, we’re going to do it, and people are going to do it to us, but seriously don’t take it too far, you’re just an asshole then.