Hmmm, schadenfreude, an ugly, self-defeating emotion that saps the purity from one’s own soul. Resist it, beat it back at all times and you shall live a healthier, more fulfilled life. A wise person told me that with a gentle smile when I was younger.
The trouble is, I have one recurring subject that is defeating all that worthy anti-schadenfreude philosophy: The London 2012 Olympics.
I saw the headline on the front of the Evening Standard yesterday screaming that the Games could now cost up to £10 billion and I felt a strange, unwanted flutter of joy. How bizarre, why on earth should I feel like that?
I am actually a moderate supporter of the Games and believe in their positive effects for the country. I get all emotional – a little absurdly at times, it has to be said – watching people win in sport generally, especially during the Olympics. So, deep down, I want London 2012 to be a huge success.
The thing is, every time I see a bad headline about 2012 I think of the day last October when I interviewed Lord Seb Coe. The resulting piece was widely read within media circles and became quite popular, not least because I drew attention to the unwanted attendance of Jackie Brock-Doyle, Seb’s Director of Communications, during the interview.
Seb and Jackie made unnecessarily heavy weather of what should have been a straight forward interview. I wasn’t there to stitch anyone up, but she behaved ridiculously and it bounced badly for them.
Now, whenever I read about another set back for 2012, I get this vision of Seb and Jackie, up there in their skyscraper glass office, with the British media throwing stones at them. And I think, Ahhh, it couldn’t happen to a nicer couple.
As I said, schadenfreude, is a terrible thing. But we all have our weaknesses.