I love words. I thank you for reading my words. I want to tell you something about words that I think is important.
This was a paraphrase of the beginning of the classic George Carlin bit about the seven “dirty” words you can’t say on television. This was genius comedy at its most profane. And it’s also an anachronism now, since television is more than the Big Three these days and it seems that all of the words can be said now. But, I digress…
The impetus of this blog wasn’t George Carlin or dirty words, but a particular word itself that I stumbled upon while reading something else.
When I read the word on a website that posts all of those Chuck Lorre vanity cards that flash at the end of his various television shows (http://www.chucklorre.com/index-bbt.php?p=412), my first impression was that it appeared to my eyes as more of a sound effect than an actual word, like those cartoony BIFFs and BLAMMOs in the classic ’66 Adam West Batman. WELTSCHMERZ could be the sound effect the Foley artists would insert when you stepped in a big, steaming pile of Lipizzaner stallion road apples. Just a for instance.
Lorre defined Weltschmerz as “world suffering deriving from the inevitability of reality to never match up with our expectations.” Other definitions I found after additional Internet spelunking were “world-weariness” and “the feeling of anxiety caused by the ills of the world.”
I think I get the gist of the word. I know I understand the feeling of Weltschmerz, and have indeed felt it on occasion. I may even have a touch of it today, though it will probably pass. Or maybe I just stepped in Lipizzaner shit. (In case you’re wondering, I am fully aware that Lipizzaners are not a German horse breed. Then again, neither are Clydesdales, which was my other go-to horse breed. You know, those big ones with the hairy lower legs who are always pulling wagons full of Bavarian-style beer on the TV. False advertising, if you ask me. They are Scottish in origin and should be pulling wagons of fine single-malt.)
As way leads to way, this line of thinking led me to another word.
Schadenfreude. This means pleasure derived from the misfortune of others.
Schadenfreude is something I will admit, with considerable shame, that I have also felt. You have, too, even if you won’t admit it. It’s not one of our better traits. I recently got a promotion at work that I probably wouldn’t have gotten if two co-workers hadn’t switched crafts at the post office and abandoned me to work alone during the holiday season. One switched to the custodial craft and recently had her hours cut. While I sympathize with her plight, genuinely, a part of me felt all schadenfreudey when she complained to me about it. What goes around, karma, and all the usual Lipizzaner droppings.
The Germans seem to have a knack for coining depressing words.
Here’s another one, maybe not as depressing but certainly mean-spirited.
Schnapsidee. If you can see the words “schnapps” and “idea” in this one, you understand the definition. A schnapsidee is a seemingly ingenious plan that you come up with when you are drunk. Or, an idea so stupid that you believe the person who had it must have been drunk when he (or she, since men aren’t exclusively stupid) had it.
There are dozens of others that I’m not going to get into today. This was merely a brief mental digression that I wanted to commit to words. I like words. Even German words.
Recent testing I had completed on my DNA (a story for another time) revealed zero German genetic influence. Regardless, I’m feeling particularly German today for some reason.