Read a couple of books today, one of them, Schadenfreude: The Joy of Another’s Misfortune by Tiffany Watt Smith offers a delightful exploration of the complex emotion that sees us derive pleasure in the failures or humiliations of others.  And, by “others”, I mean rivals, bullies, hypocrites, and runway models in impossibly high heels.

Anyway, an informative, highly-entertaining read that got me to thinking about the memorable instances of schadenfreude I’ve experienced, instances big and small.

Like that time I was driving home one night and was almost sideswiped by a sports car weaving wildly in and out of traffic before speeding off.  Fifteen minutes later, I drove by the same car parked on the shoulder, its driver contending with an officer in an unmarked police car as other passing motorists honked their best wishes in passing.

Or that time many years ago when, I as a young, un-produced writer, submitted a pitch to a teen series only to have it go unanswered for months.  And then, while attempting to follow up, being reprimanded by the show’s producer – who, two years later, ended up having to pitch me his new show in my new position as a manager of animation development.

And that time that executive, who kind of screwed me over on that one deal, later ended up getting turfed for expensing escorts to his company account.

Yep, life’s full of ’em.

Please, do regale us with your personal instances of delectable schadenfreude.

16 thoughts on “December 15, 2018: Schadenfreude!

  1. I’m waiting for the shoe to drop on the guy who absconded with my GoFundMe money. It will, deliciously.

    Here we go. Long ago, when I was in the Navy, one of the girls who worked with me decided I was a bad friend for not lying when I was questioned by the Command Masterchief and the XO about her sleeping with my married boss. We had apartments in the same tiny fourplex, and old Japanese building which meant there was zero sound insulation. I was treated to her very loud, very expensive stereo with increasing frequency, a gift from said married boss, plus ah, other loud and boisterous activities. I saw him there often overnight, it wasn’t like he had an official reason to visit her at all. I wasn’t going to risk my ass for them.

    My evaluations at work dipped as a result, so that I missed out on an advancement. She got glowing evals, and tossed it in my face when she advanced and outranked me. It got so bad at the apartment, I moved across town. Joke was on them though, the Japanese wife got angry because her husband had been indiscrete, and smashed up his car, his motorcycle, and all his electronics with a baseball bat. Boss gave more to the girl than a fancy stereo, she ended up with a nasty STD. He was sent to a terrible command, one without women, and forced out of the Navy when he hit his earliest possible retirement year. These days that situation wouldn’t have gotten so far, and he wouldn’t have been allowed to stay in the Navy for as long as he did. Also, that is the TL;DR. Ah, good times.

  2. Back in the 70’s I worked for an accounting firm who let one of their clients hang around our office because he had nothing else to do. The guy was creepy; one time I turned around from putting some files on a desk and he was standing behind me just leering at me and smirking. This was before sexual harassment laws so I knew that reporting it would not accomplish anything. Other employees and myself had already complained about him taking our food out of the office refrigerator to no avail.

    A few weeks later, the problem solved itself. I got a call from the phone company because the bosses had reported getting billed for a long distance number they did not recognize. The phone rep thought I might recognize the number and I did, as I had gotten messages from that number for the creepy client. Long distance calls were expensive then, and when I told the bosses who had been making the calls the creepy client was out of there.

  3. During the IRCA 86 US immigration amnesty, I worked in one of the front-line offices, interviewing the applicants. We were certain that one farm-work contractor was providing false documentation and coaching the many applicants he escorted to the office. I remember celebrating when we got the report that USINS Investigations branch had raided the contractor’s home and office one morning.

    I COULD feel schadenfreude for the former pre-school playmate who became one of my grade-school tormentors, but all I can feel is sad. I learned earlier this year that he spent some time in prison in his late 50s and died this past February.

  4. One late snowy night I was driving home after taking care of my elderly mom all day. It was around midnight and the snow turned to ice as I was driving, so I slowed down but kept up a steady pace. There were only a few cars on the double-lane highway, but some guy in a late-model Mercedes rode my rear bumper for about ten miles, even when I slowed down even more in hopes that he’d take the hint and go around. As we finally neared my exit, he suddenly gunned his motor and shot past me at high speed, entering the cloverleaf exit ramp. I followed at a more weather-appropriate pace and as I rounded the tight curve, who should I see but my friend in the Mercedes, about 75 feet down at the bottom of the snow and ice-covered cloverleaf ditch, where he’d whacked into another vehicle that apparently had preceded him. I waved as I drove past, but he and the other driver were out of their vehicles, trading rude hand gestures and yelling at each other. Schadenfreude indeed!

  5. I used to get nothing but mediocre reviews from my boss… then it came time for layoffs. He got laid off and I didn’t. I get nothing but wonderful reviews, stock bonus, raises, etc. from my new boss. Also, I heard that he’s not a supervisor at his new job…

  6. Here’s another one:

    There was this total jerk that worked for my company. He was a good programmer and a BIG talker. The company gave him a bonus one year of a million dollars worth of stock options. The options matured after 5 years. He was floating on air… made everyone in the office sick with his boasting. Anyway, before the 5 year mark, our stock took a dive and all of his options were worthless. The old timers just look at each other and laugh whenever his name comes up.

  7. Never had it yet. How I wish.
    I’ve got a few in mind but karma’s taking its time.

    Actually, I may have one.
    We pitched a comicbook project to our former publisher. They got us waiting 2 years, complaining about various things, forgetting about it, etc. The moment we said we were out and pitched it to another company, we got a deal in two hours. And a TV show deal less than a year after that.
    A few years later, the former company came to me to work with them again, to pursue on a preexisting project, but the offer was so low it was insulting. I said no and went back doing stuff for me.
    I made fanarts, as I usually do, and it happened it was the very beginning of the Save Dark Matter campaign. I made the portraits you saw, which were noticed by a big company in SF and lead to a massive freelance job during winter 2017-18. It paid for our Japan trip and most of 2018 expenses.
    So, these two parts are not totally related, apparently, but the thing is I couldn’t have accepted the freelance gig if I had to do the underpaid project with the publisher, roughly. I wouldn’t have had the time to.
    I don’t know if that counts, it’s more like a domino effect than a karma thing but there’s still a bit of it in it. ^^

    Though, I would like some shadenfreude on a couple of other matters, if possible. 😛

  8. All the people who have tormented me I have slowly tracked down, tortured and killed…
    Oh wait, that was the movie plot I was fantasizing about.
    In real life, all the people who have tormented me seem to have gone on to have full, successful lives .
    Damn !

  9. I have to throw in with Dr. Z on coming up empty in the schadenfreude category. I’m sure there have been a few times in my life where I’ve felt it, but they were apparently too insignificant for my grey matter to file properly.

    I have a long list of “enemies” who’ve all come up relatively successfully in what appear to be happy lives. So now I’m just working on outliving them so I can literally dance on their graves.

    You know what they say, “Revenge is a dish best served old.” Or something like that.

  10. It’s delicious yet so dangerous to enjoy that schadenfreude. That is the teeniest tiniest bath bucket in the world! Suji is a sweetie, what team is her wool hat supporting? I’ve been listening to and sniffling about this story of about a dad’s friendship with Charles Barkey. I hope my cube mates think I have allergies, but then again there is no shame in crying; especially when so many of us can relate:
    https://www.wbur.org/onlyagame/2018/12/14/lin-wang-charles-barkley

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