Growing up, I used to love watching trashy daytime talk shows. I missed most of 9th grade pretending to be sick so that I could watch as much Jerry Springer as possible. I couldn’t put my finger on why I liked it so much, other than how unbelievably awesome it was. Then I realized, it wasn’t the fighting, or the outrageous storylines, or even Jerry’s Final Thought. I loved seeing people worse off than me. No matter how bad a day I was having, or how bad I thought my life was going, at least I wasn’t a middle-aged overweight man convinced that I was a dog for the entertainment of a masochistic, older, sex-crazed woman.
It may sound bad, but it’s somewhat therapeutic knowing that there are those worse off than you. I think the word for this is ‘schadenfreude’. There’s a limit, however. I don’t enjoy watching people suffer or die, and I do not like when anyone I love or care about is in pain. Aside from that, pretty much anything goes. I like it when I’m driving down the highway and I see that a police car has just pulled over another car for speeding. I like it when I see another couple yelling at each other. I like it when I get the last cookie at the deli in my office. We all need some motivation and self-assurance in the fact that we are not the most miserable people on earth.
After many failed dates and rejections, I needed a confidence booster in that same vein. I thought about showing interest in women that I wasn’t interested at all, just so I could receive some sort of acceptance from someone. However, I figured that this was too cruel, especially knowing how painful rejection can be. Instead, I gained a little bit of confidence knowing that even though the women I sort of had interest in didn’t reciprocate the feeling, a few that I didn’t have interest in at least seemed to enjoy my company. And then I hit the jackpot. I won $10 from a scratch-off lottery ticket. And then I redeemed my jackpot. And then I bought a sandwich. And then I hit the metaphorical jackpot and met the woman I will spend the rest of my life with.
There’s no real lesson here, and most of my ‘lessons’ are impractical and may even get you killed.