Friday, 29 August 2014

Schadenfreude - not this time .....

11:34:00 Posted by Louise Barklam , , , 1 comment

Schadenfreude (German) (ˈʃaːdənfrɔydə) 



  1. delight, gratitude or satisfaction in another's misfortune

It's a sad world in which we live, or it's a funny old world, depending of course on a persons' sense of humour. I'm just as guilty as the next person of laughing when someone has an unfortunate accident (the type that usually involves someone hurting their groin etc. in an inadvertent slapstick fashion), but that's the gratitude part of schadenfreude coming to the fore. I am grateful that it wasn't me. However, when something happens to a person close to you, or even yourself, it's not funny in the slightest.

A farcical case in point. This week, after it had been dismantled, I had arranged for my Mum's car-port to be taken away. Constructed of metal beams encased in UPVC, it wasn't lightweight. But some lovely chaps (some on Community Payback) came to remove the cumbersome structure from the yard. First, they sent a pick-up truck despite having been told that it was 14 foot long.  Obviously it wouldn't fit, so they decided to call a compactor down to bend the bars (a small bin wagon to you and me).  It did the job, but we nearly broke it. But of course, as is our luck on any given day, the beams, still too large to fit in the pick-up, would have to go in a large cage lorry. So the third vehicle was called. It was going to be a tight squeeze, but they would fit. The chaps on Community Payback were doing a sterling job of hefting and lifting, but not listening to instruction on how to fit it in the lorry, so my Mum stepped forward to assist and explain. *THWACK* *THWACK*  Whilst being hauled in an upward direction, two pieces of cross beam skated across the floor of the cage and smacked my Mum across her face and neck, flat side on.  If that had happened to someone else, I would have laughed my very best schadenfreude laugh.  But this was my Mum.  Red welts immediately in evidence on her person, in a state of gut wrenching fear, there was no laughter, only a: "Shit! Mum, are you ok?" whilst moving rapidly to her side.  Her breezy and blithe response was classic shock: "I'm fine! C'mon, let's get this sorted!" like nothing had just happened!  Even the gobbiest Community Payback youth was concerned.  Once the job was done, and the team and car-port had gone, we returned indoors for a cuppa. The effects of mild concussion beginning to show .....


When accidents happen to others,
they're funny, 
hilarious even.
When they happen to us or loved ones,
they're not 
A quirk of the brain
and gratitude 
that it wasn't us,
meaning the disparate difference
between comedy 
and concern.
I wince,
through pursed lips,
even say "Oooooooooo" 
with a frown
when seeing others sustain an injury.
Yet I silently chuckle
in perverse satisfaction.
What is WRONG with us?
Slap-stick entertainment
or worry for well-being?
Tears of laughter
or pain?
Either way
don't cry for me!

Thanks for reading.  ;-) x



Deepika Olive said...
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