Tuesday, October 31, 2006

...could schadenfreude be part of love?


Eowyn pulled *all* the linen out of the linen press to make an enormous pile of towels, sheets, blankets, and so forth on the floor the other night. Her father, who had just finished working rather hard to tidy up the house, was quite dipleased, and he said to her "You will remain here and you will pick up all the linen and put it back in the linen press, and if you do anything else before this job is done, ... the universe will become even more excessively unpleasant for you than it is generally is." (this is a slight paraphrase of what he actually said)
Eowyn felt completely overwhelmed by the enormity of this task, and she wept hideously as she *so* slowly picked up one item, put it back in, and (with encouragement from dad) picked up *one* more item, and so forth. "I *can't* do it, dad" she wept piteously" "You can, and you will" he replied. This continued.
Some 15 minutes later, Eowyn came to find dad in the kitchen with a mega-enormous smile on her perfectly beautiful face. "Dad, I wanna show you something. Come with me." She proudly showed off the empty floor and the full linen press, and could be glimpsed beaming her pleasure at the accomplishment throughout the house during the following while.
While Eowyn was so piteously weeping and working on this task, dad was feeling some schadenfreude. It was composed of two parts. Part A was a sense of triumph that (at last) Eowyn was feeling a tiny bit of the weight of the burden that her destructive tendencies create. Part B was a sense that this was actually good for her, based on remembrance of some of his own overwhelmingly unbearably enormous tasks and how astoundingly good it felt when he actually got through them in spite of himself.

Other notes: 1. I wonder how many of you can follow the (strange yet funny) logic behind the ketchup above?
2. Word of the Day: Schadenfreudian slip--unintentionally failing to politely conceal the schadenfreude one feels

9 comments:

byron said...

I'm not sure your daughter qualifies as your enemy... :-) And is her learning an important life lesson (even if unpleasant at the time) an instance of misfortune or harm? Thus is this really a schadenfreude situation? It's a great word, but I still think it's not a great feeling.

As for the ketchup - I assume the implication is that Democrats are not 'American'.

Megs said...

i don't think eowyn's behaviour is destructive on purpose! she's just VERY creative and intelligent, like her Dadda and Mamma!!

Benjamin Ady said...

Byron--well, the Democrats are not american thing comes into it, vaguely, but it's more specific (and stupid) than that.

me said...

i am not as smart as i look (not that you know whta i look like). Please explain (that woulud be funny if you were from OZ and knew pauline hanson ...
ps; you sound like a good parent :) R

Benjamin Ady said...

ok, here's a hint: Teresa Kerry

byron said...

Ah - the penny drops...

Benjamin Ady said...

Yeah. I find this pretty wierd. I was at a barbecue with my (incredibly dysfunctional and strange)(but then who isn't?) extended family last year, and one of my uncles, while appying (heinz, of course--it's all anybody uses here) ketchup to his hamburger commented "well, I normally wouldn't use John Kerry Ketchup, but if that's all there is..." I said "huh???". so he explained.

byron said...

Such a politically polarised nation: even condiments are claimed...

stephanie said...

OH MY GOSH. W KETCHUP?! I'm delighted and horrifed all at once!