Posts Tagged ‘come-uppance’

I am a Scorpio, and I share a characteristic of that zodiac sign with most other Scorpios that I know:  I quietly take a certain amount of delight from watching someone who has behaved badly land in a pile of metaphorical manure.  In German, the word is schadenfreude, and it describes the hope that many of us carry: that “what goes around, comes around.”

Schadenfreude is not a word that automatically comes to mind when one thinks of the holidays, I admit.  However, noting that Rod Balgojevich has just been sentenced to fourteen years in prison, or watching someone who has behaved with such gross disregard for moral and ethical standards finally twist and squirm a bit, I can’t help but take a little quiet pleasure from observing the scene as someone unravels.

I suspect I share this leaning with lots of other folks, who want to see what happens when some celebrity gets into a snit fight with a flight attendant, when a public figure is found to have behaved in ways that are unbecoming to his or her profession, when someone repeatedly thinks the rules of the world don’t apply to them.

At its core, I think the feeling I have relates to watching someone conduct themselves as though they were somehow above the rules that the rest of us follow — they don’t have to put up with the same standards, pay the same charges, fight the same fights.  The 99 percent argument that is driving the “Occupy” protests is, at its core, about this split between those who have privilege, and those who do not.

I have increasingly heard people like me referred to as “the little people.”  I don’t feel little, but I do sometimes feel disappeared.  I wrote on my Facebook page, the other day, about a well known former bridal store owner who I found myself in line behind at the Costco check out counter.  Having forgotten something, she tottered off in her high heels and heavy makeup and bangles, to go find another bauble to buy – leaving all of us in line, behind her, standing with our mouths open.  There, we waited for minutes, for her return.  Finally the clerk decided enough was enough, rang out her purchase, pushed it off to the side, and took the next person in line (me).  As I was leaving the line, I saw the woman re-appear, pushing through the line, wondering why things had moved forward without her.

This kind of nervy, inconsiderate behavior is what I find myself running into more and more, in stores, on the road, in public meetings.  Advent is, traditionally, a time of waiting, of anticipation.  I would prefer to not spend that time waiting for someone to beat the system again, to push ahead in line, to find that once again, “the little people” have gotten stomped on.  So yes, I admit it:  I do sometimes enjoy watching someone who has behaved carelessly find their comeuppance.  Because, at the core, in a holiday that is supposed to be about love and light, it would be nice for us all to feel like we really do matter, and that we still have a place at the table.

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