Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Schadenfreude

I do my best to avoid taking delight in the misery of others. It's an ugly pastime, and you never know when the tables will turn. The Germans have a word for this urge (they always do): Schadenfreude. Still there are times it's hard not to smirk.

For instance the other day I crawled along the freeway, finally exiting, only to have a upwardly mobile MBA type in his BMW convertible whip around and cut me off, his hair and power tie flapping in the breeze.

I could swear he smiled at me, the bastard.

Suddenly the police cruiser that had been crawling along behind me flipped his lights on and pulled him over. BAM. I wasn't sure exactly what Beemer had done, but what ever it was, he was busted.

I smiled back as I passed him.

Schadenfreude.

And so it was with the news that a jury in Houston found Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling guilty of a total of 29 criminal counts in the Enron debacle. Lay, who had cultivated an avuncular public persona, apparently came off as an arrogant and domineering prick on the witness stand. The jury was not impressed.

Once the consort of the high and mighty, Kenny Boy goes down.

"Certainly this is not the outcome we expected," he said at news of his conviction.

I smiled.

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