"Schadenfreude! Schadenfreude! Ja!" was one of the running jokes at the bar, spoken in a faux "Dieter from SNL" tone... "Ja Ich bin expert in den Schadenfreude Ja". I had experienced this Schadenfreude once or twice before... pleasure from the pain of others, yes, I must admit...I am a human-drone after all, and there is a certain aspect of karmic justice within it when it involves those who have wronged you. As Mel Brooks is quoted as saying: "Tragedy is when I cut my finger, comedy is when you fall into an open sewer and die."
'Schadenfreude', also happens to be the name given to Goth Night at a nearby bar conveniently located on the way to my house.
Two nights ago...
I had finished tackling a crossword puzzle that WAS meant to be finished...I sipped on my 'High Life'-how it came to be known as 'The Champagne of Beers' still boggles my mind-and took two final drags off my cigarette, bent on leaving the still-empty bar to look for, how should I put it, greener pastures?
After visiting some fine establishments along the way, I decided to call it an early night and head home...but something lured me into this "Schadenfreude Goth Night"...mayhaps it was the chance for one last drink before I lay to an early slumber...mayhaps it was my restlessness.
It was dark, of course...and nobody smiles. A tall skinny pale guy stands near the stage, bad haircut, bad tattoos...he is not happy, he is not even content with his task of repeatedly hitting the electronic drum-kit in the same beat. Close to him stands another who goes through the same motions, and who, unsurprisingly looks just like him, except he has a better elecronic drum-kit. He also looks unhappy.
Strangely enough, their sadness enlightens me not. Am I not supposed to feel pleasure at their seeming displeasure? Yet it still eluded me.
I pace, lean by the bar and glance at another who nurses a drink and plays with her necklace twisting it around her fingers...dour, beaten expression in her face. She is very sad. And I am still not happy.
And why goth? Gothic perhaps, but not goth. Black lace and bad taste in clothes and music a goth does not make. I refuse to compare the people who conquered and settled large swaths of the former Western AND Eastern Roman Empires with the people who conquered...uhm, well... 'Hot Topic'! A group of helmeted barbarians dancing while wearing leather armor and swinging their maces and swords...that I'd pay money to see.
I look at the bartender. At this point I decide that I do not really need another drink. She looks tired, and very un-goth like. She is not having a good time. And I am still not happy; worse yet, I feel empathy for this service employee...and share her dissatisfaction at such a mediocre example of a "theme" night. My efforts have surely backfired. And I remember that the only people smiling were the two that relieved me of five dollars at the door. I'd been had, I'd been Schadenfreud'ed!!!
After a short time, I decide that the remainder of my night out is better spent buying some groceries at Safeway and end up dining on sweet green peppercorn salami with swiss cheese on a baguette...a pleasure, and one that did not depend on the pain of others, save the pig, the dairy cow, and the underpaid bakery employees. Now THAT is Schadenfreude.