Tuesday, February 03, 2004

N.B.: Adam is taking the week off from blogging to live his glamorous life in the glamorous theater, so I am subbing for him until his return. I also keep my own blog here.

I'm thinking about the first time I heard the word "schadenfreude."

That's actually a lie. I only wish I remembered the first time I heard the word "schadenfreude," wish it desperately, because then I would recall with utmost clarity the rush of joy that must surely have suffused my entire being at the discovery that such a concept existed, rather than just having to imagine it.

"Schadenfreude" comes to us from German. "Schade" is the word for "damage," and "Freude" is the word for joy; together they make up the word for feeling happy at others' misfortunes. Since this is a feeling my shriveled, bitter, jealous heart is intimately acquainted with, I've always found it a useful word to have around.

What baffles, confounds, and sometimes enrages me is that the word "freudenschade" has not come into common parlance. That would be, of course, the word for feeling upset by the joys of others. It's a perfectly valid German word. And it may be the only feeling with which my shriveled, bitter, jealous heart is more intimately acquainted than "schadenfreude."

I'm going to start a campaign to make "freudenschade" part of the everyday lexicon of the English language.

Be careful here: if you're not with me on this one, then you're against me.

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