I’m not actually a good person.
I know this probably doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone who really knows me, but it sneaks up on me sometimes. And it’s a particular kind of bad person that I am, and it’s all at odds with my image of myself as someone who’d lay down their life for a friend, who has your back in a fight (physical, verbal, or metaphorical), who’d absolutely punch someone who called you a racial slur or said something shitty about your body, and who’d go out of their way to correct more general stuff that people say that contributes to the stuff I really hate about society. You know, like calling out misogyny, transphobia, homophobia, reminding people that humor should punch up instead of down…
But I’m not always that person. I’m also vindictive and petty AF and there are days I just have to own it and go surfing through Facebook for my schadenfriends.
Yeah, schadenfriends. People I personally know or have known whose misfortune delights me. People I know well enough to have access to entire archives of online photos, posts, old livejournals. I like to think I have good reasons for hating them.
Really, though, I’m keeping them around for the endorphin rush I get from watching them suffer.
The ex who kept a friend so stoned for six solid months that he lost his job, who undermined him at every turn and told him he wasn’t good at doing things so she’d do it for him, under the guise of martyrdom. The ex who did, in fact, end up fucking him. The ex who was a six-foot tall redhead when I dated her… and who now looks like somebody’s Nonna, grey and round with square jowls. She’s 50 years old and I think she still delivers pizza (and pot). Hi, baby, I upgraded but damn that’s a bad picture Tim tagged you in!
The ex-friend who I gently tried for years to convince that LGBTQ folks were people too, who should probably be allowed to get married, and that if she was as good a friend to them as she thought she was she’d support that too? The one who used to be a ballerina, who was lifting weights and running with me? Well, since she joined this hate enforcement group working to legislate against the rights of my family and friends God has been literally striking her down. Still single, still overweight (which, you know, my body positivity ends with the people I hate and honestly I think maybe I’m still ok with their bodies but I enjoy watching them be put down by society in all the ways you can be put down?), now wheelchair bound for no medical reason the doctors can find. God is striking you down honey. You’re that religious, learn to read a fucking sign.
Not everyone has what it takes to be a schadenfriend. Some people pretty much exist to be blocked. Nazis. Nazis are boring. MRAs are boring. There’s no real pleasure to be had listening to the tickertape of their thoughts. Even their misfortunes are boring. No, it takes a special something to elevate yourself to schadenfriend.
- Be terrible.
- Make me think you’re not terrible
- Suffer misfortune
OK, maybe it’s not really complicated.
I’m pretty good at real life revenge. I’ve peed on cars, I’ve written shady recommendations, and I’ve definitely gone behind a boss’ back to warn an organization that he was courting about him.
But it’s not like the satisfaction that you get when you feel like the universe is taking revenge for you. I love the smell of schadenfreude in the morning. It smells like justice and just for a moment, just for that one, shining glittering moment as I make sure I’m not clicking “like” on that shitty photo they’re tagged in… I can believe that the world has balance and that sometimes the good guys really do win.
I think we all need that.