During the Miss Universe competition last night, Steve Harvey screwed up. He like, completely and totally, 100% screwed up.
It was pretty awful. And was, I’m sure, completely mortifying for all parties involved. The whole event was most likely one of the worst pageant moments since this epic disaster, from 2007.
And while I’m not exactly sure what this says about me as a person, I laaaaaaughed and I laughed. (Bonus points if you get the Seinfeld reference.) I laughed when I watched the video of the whole event transpiring. I laughed when I re-watched it and zoomed in on each participants facial expressions. And I laughed when I replayed the events in my mind this morning, driving to my mother-in-law’s house.
I laughed so much in fact, that it prompted my 4-year-old to ask me what was going on.
“Well, um honey, you see there was this contest and the announcer announced that the person who thought she was the winner wasn’t actually the winner and she was sad.”
“Um, Mom. That’s not funny. That’s mean.”
“Oh okay, well yes. You’re right. But, um, okay there’s this thing called Schadenfreude and it means that when something not nice happens to someone else, other people might think it’s funny. Like remember how we laughed at Tom and Jerry when Tom got hit with the frying pan?”
“Well, it’s kind of like that.”
“That still sounds mean.”
“Yeah, you’re right. It’s mean.”
And just like that, I’m being forced to rethink my sense of humor from the ground up. Do I really want to be the kind of person who laughs at another person’s misfortune? Do I really want to giggle when I see a woman walking by with toilet paper stuck to her shoe? Or tee hee when I notice a gentleman’s toupee slightly askew? Do I really want to teach that sort of crass sentiment to my children?
You know what? I do. I really do.
Because in ten years, when Oliver’s buddies belly laugh because he tripped in front of a pretty girl, I want him to know that it’s okay. That he can stand up, brush himself off and laugh right along with them. They are still his friends. They don’t mean any harm. Of course, a hard line will have to be drawn between good-natured ribbing and mean-spirited teasing, but that goes without saying. (But I said it, because, well, this is the internet and if you don’t explain what you mean, someone will explain it for you.)
So I will watch and re-watch the end of the Miss Universe pageant completely guilt-free. And I will continue to laugh knowing that even if everything I’ve said is a whole bunch of bunk, at least Donald Trump isn’t going to gain any extra attention or money from this fiasco. Because he sold the Miss Universe Organization a mere two months ago.
That feeling you’re experiencing right now? That, my friend, is Schadenfreude.