Thursday, February 09, 2006

shades of schadenfreude

Today's test of my inherent humanity: how do I react when I hear something bad has happened to someone else?

Case 1: My former boss at Oracle just got the ax. It only took them about 12 years after acquiring the company to figure out that the guy had long been promoted past his level of competence. It wasn't just that he was incompetent, it was that he actively fostered negligence in his subordinates, and cultivated an environment that was hostile to anyone who tried to do something about it.

Case 2: A woman with whom I have had social dealings, and who has been an unmitigated bitch to me, was literally run over by a bus.

In the first case, I'm psyched. I'm not at all worried about the guy's finances or his family, because he's been drawing a bloated salary + stock options galore for years and years now. If he's in any dire financial predicament now, that's his own stupid fault. I'm happy because now with him gone, there's some hope for the people remaining there to actually have a good work environment, something many of them have probably never experienced. It's a good thing, even though the guy and his family will suffer because of it. I'm reminded about that old saw about the wheels of justice grindingly slowly, but fine -- it took a while, but the guy is finally being called to be responsible for the mess he created.

In the second case, I feel genuinely sorry for the woman and will pray for her continued recovery. I'm not at all close to her, so sending a card or flowers would just be weird. But I will think good thoughts for her. She's not a bad person, she and I just don't get along very well. Nobody deserves to be hit by a bus, no matter what.

This is one test I pass.

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