Things that make me go oh

I am (generally) a very chirpy, cheery kinda person. I am not easily deflated. I am also remarkably immune to people’s negative views about me. (Well, that’s not entirely true. I have cultivated immunity to people’s negative views about me, though I am still aware of it and sometimes, it hurts. Mostly, it makes me angry. Anger is a very useful emotion, tethered right.)

A minor event made me whimper a sad little oh inside my heart:

I printed off a comic to add to my pin-board.

This cartoon giggled when Mr. Happy was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.  From

"This cartoon giggled when Mr. Happy was diagnosed with bipolar disorder." From

When I went to the printer to collect my print-out – above – I showed it to my two workmates. Neither laughed, nor was a smile even raised. Rather, a perplexed look and then a, “Sorry, I know I should know what schadenfreude means, but I don’t.” Me? “Oh. Um it means the experience of being amused at the misfortunes of others.

One bit of me is sad that they don’t know what schadenfreude is, because I thought they both would. One of them is rather partial to schadenfreude. Another bit of me feels a little bad that they might think I was being overly intellectual, showing off, flashing my superior knowledge in their faces.

At work, I am already viewed as The Intellectual One because I get excited about cases, I talk about books, I don’t watch TV and I know the names of Russian authors (a skill that helped our firm’s team win a quiz night). I had only read one of the Russian authors whose name I knew – it was just a process of elimination to get the answer right. Not Dostoevsky, I know all most of his works and have read some. Not Solzhenitsyn*, I keep buying his books second hand and then not reading them. Not Tolstoy, eveyone knows what he wrote and I have not managed to finish either of them (are there more than two?).  Therefore, Turgenev. Simple. No, there are no other Russian authors.

* I ain’t so clever that I did not have to google ‘Gulag Archipelago’ to get (one of) the correct spelling(s) of the author’s name.

I wasn’t showing off. I honestly thought we would have a connection, but we didn’t. It made me ‘oh’ sadly inside, and ‘oh’ suprisedly outside. Maybe they experienced some schadenfreude to see my face drop at their non-amusement at the comic.

You’re amused, right?



  1. Well, I think we’ve covered this before. I remember my senior year of high school, my humanities teacher was in Japan for some exchange program so we had a sub for 3 weeks. My school had a weird thing with a special honors program where we took most of our core classes together. The reasoning was that it would be conducive to camaraderie, which would help us all do well. Anyway, so I went through most of high school with the same core group in my English and history classes. Except for Senior humanities, which fulfilled the English requirement for those who weren’t in the program, and was an elective for those of us who were. That was a long lead in! Anyway, so apparently no one did their world history homework, including me. When the sub tried to get a discussion going about the Sumerians, Ur, Babylon, and Mesopotamia, no one knew what he was talking about. So he got frustrated and I started answering. And everyone got mad at me for being a know-it-all. I said it was all basic stuff that was covered in 7th grade. Oooh, that set everyone off. How dare I be so snotty about my intelligence?! Are you kidding me? Senior year of high school and they didn’t know?

    A few years ago, I bought an old-fashioned wind-up clock from IKEA. It looked great, but after I wound it up, it tick-tocked like crazy! I couldn’t stand it. I had to put it in the trunk of my car, in the garage, and had to stay upstairs so I couldn’t hear it. But I swear, it was still madly ticking away. When I returned it, I joked that I felt like it was Poe’s “tell-tale” heart. 8th grade English. I thought every American knew about Poe? Evidently not. I got a blank stare and my joke fell flat.

    I would have figured out the Russian by process of elimination too. I’ve read “One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich” and “Anna Karenina.” Blah! I could live without Russian writers.

    I helped my team’s trivia bowl by knowing children’s books and useless pop culture. That Katherine Patterson wrote “Bridge to Terabithia.” And that Christina Aguilera was born outside of Pittsburgh. Yay me. 😛


  2. Oanh, schadenfreude is one of my favourite words ever. And I love that cartoon. I think I’m going to send it to my best friends.

    People shouldn’t diss those with minds that store information from Year 8. We’re very useful in trivia nights. And everyone wants to be my partner in Trivial Pursuit. 🙂


  3. WC –

    I’ve also helped a trivia team win with a very embarassing, exceedingly fast on the uptake, response to a music round question. Everyone else had been so fast answering the other music questions, I did not have a chance. But then … I leant forward and excitedly whispered the answer after merely the first few bars of Kylie Minogue’s and Jason Donovan’s Especially for You . Oh so daggy!

    Do you know it? Bet it’s on youtube… check out this link –, which is them on Top of the Pops, or this one –, which is the original video clip.)

    And the number of my jokes that have fallen flat with check-out folks? Countless.

    Legal Eagle –

    Yay! I knew someone else would.

    I’ll bet everyone wants you as their Trivial Pursuit buddy! You’d cane. I love Trivial Pursuit – it’s the only board game I can beat my partner at.

    Did you know it just recently occurred to me that ‘diss’ is short for disrespect?


  4. Kylie’s not nearly as beloved in the US as she is in Oz and the UK. There was another duet with Jason Donovan that I used to like, can’t remember which one.

    Remember in the second Bridget Jones when she answered the Madonna question. Except everyone thinks the wrong answer was the right one, so her correct answer was viewed as wrong. In the book, she was pretty clear that she was right, but in the movie, they just had her as wrong and dejected.


  5. I love University Challenge and I watched (on BBC’s iplayer – it makes the unmissable, unmissable) Corpus Christi Trimble (only in the quarter final and final because that’s when I thought to watch) in absolute awe.

    I generally love quiz shows and UC is the best of them – unlike Who Wants to be a Millionnaire, UC is actually about the questions whereas WWTBAM is about whiz bang stuff (noise, lights, lifelines, bleurg).

    Her team were pretty impressive, too, but I felt seriously sorry for the young man sitting on Gail Trimble’s far right, to whom the rest of the team turned for science questions they did not know the answer to.

    Interesting to read SL’s post re the reaction to GT. (I’d already pre-read / heard about the reaction – something my partner brought to my attention because his workmates were chatting about it; my workmates did not discuss at all).

    In Aus, I think GT would just be taken down because of Tall Poppy Syndrome, but here (in UK) the reaction seems to be more class oriented, more to do with envy where the response is negative – to slash away at -, rather than positive – to aspire to. And yes, your comments on SL’s post (and other commenters similarly) are very right to point out the unfairness of lauding sporting prowess but not intellectual prowess.

    I only knew the Dev Patel answer. Definitely nothing else…


  6. Oh, and I don’t think there was any other JD & KM duets.

    There was a JD song in which KM was in the video clip. I think that may have been Sealed with a Kiss, but I could also be very, very wrong on that point.


  7. hey (long time to comment)

    you’re so wonderfully chatty on this blog – it makes me smile to read your posts. at work, i really like my team leader, but she doesn’t like my jokes. =(

    why do ducks have webbed feet?
    to put out fires.

    why do elephants have flat feet?
    to put out burning ducks.


    1. Hey NT
      – indeed 😛

      I like your joke! sounds like one of my fave jokes ever …

      Why did the kangaroo fall out of the tree?
      What was he doing in the tree in the first place?

      Why did the koala fall out of the tree?
      He was hit by a falling kangaroo.


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