There´s little more enjoyment one can get out of life than Schadenfreude. That indescribable (in English at least) feeling of joy from someone else´s misfortune. It´s the Funniest Home Video phenomena. The guilty pleasure of watching a small child walk straight off the edge of a step to land on its head, of a middle aged man on a bicycle for the first time in a decade careen down a hill and into the back of a parked pick-up. The titillation of seeing an elderly woman unceremoniously upturned by a bad tempered camel and dragged along with a foot stuck in the stirrup and her skirts around her ears.
Being a dog owner means that I get to experience this joy on a daily basis. I have a feeling it is a situation that won´t be improved upon until we have a toddler in the house. With steps. And unexpected walls. But until that reproductive moment comes about, Leon Dog Wonder fills our evenings with gales of laughter.
Seriously, our place is lots of fun at night.
Today I had to take Leon to the vet to have his teeth cleaned as he has a badly damaged gum section and the tooth was beginning to look rather black. Under a general anaesthetic. Which meant watching my dog turn into a fifty year old drunk, at least until the point where he vomited as he went under. Then he turned into a twenty year old drunk and I had the joy of holding his ears back from his face as he spewed.
Oh, the memories of University. Those images of dingy toilets in questionable venues with vomiting long-haired friends are now surrounded with the rosy glow that only time, distance and alcohol induced memory loss can give. But I digress.
Seeing him lie there fully unconscious and drooling elegantly was somewhat heart-rending. Luckily enough his teeth are in great nick and the ugly hole behind one is actually caused by a tooth in his lower jaw trying to drill its way upwards into his nasal cavity with every bite. I´ve a horrible feeling we´re going to have to get him braces and then he´ll lie sulking in his bed all day for being called Train-tracks and Brace-face, ignoring the years of wages we´re sinking into orthodontics so that he can have a brilliant smile. You know how cruel other animals can be. Its a dog eat dog world out there.
Picking him up several hours later we got to watch him weave back and forth as he tried to negotiate a particularly tricky piece of open flat pavement. It took him four tries to lift a leg to pee and each time appeared surprised when his other rear leg decided to back out of the deal and dump him on the ground. He managed to get half his body into the car, but couldn´t seem to work out how the rest of the movement went. We spent a good hour watching him fall over unexpectedly, walk into suddenly moving door frames and look pathetically at us. It was all terribly sad and we felt awfully sorry for the poor boy. Really we did. But how could you not giggle just a little?
They say Damage-joy is the best joy. There has to be something pretty special about a culture that has a word for that.