The Norman Transcript


May 17, 2014

Butting heads with gargoyles

NORMAN — There is a rather unpleasant characteristic far too many humans exercise, often on a daily basis. The Germans even have a name for such behavior, Schadenfreude. Schaden is the German word for “damage” or “harm” and freude means “joy”. Schadenfreude is the delight taken by someone in the misfortune of another.

Such secret or overt feelings and thoughts do not speak well of supposedly rational beings, do they? On the other hand, it is considered almost a virtue to be able to laugh at oneself, in particular when it involves embarrassing things.

Having said that, consider the following a glimpse into my virtuous side or just plain goofy events in my life.

We enjoy watching old movies and the TMC Channel offers an amazing array of them. Of course, for Hubby old movies include the old black and white westerns with a dash of more modern ones in color. In fact, even though we had a Latin Mass, I suspect our marriage vows may have included a subliminal Okie line “Thou shalt watch endless hours of westerns and end up watching them alone because he dozed off.”

Some of the movies set in France quite often had a scene where a character knocks back a small glass of Cognac and appears to enjoy it. Cognac is a type of brandy distilled in the town of Cognac in France.

It was such a sophisticated piece of stage business and had always fascinated me. By mere coincidence one of my brothers-in-law brought back a bottle of Cognac from a business trip to France. With glass in hand, I was determined to re-enact what I thought was a classy movie scene.

I raised my glass and tossed it back, but missed my mouth and received a Cognac facial instead. But a little of the spirit made it past my lips. This experiment proved that all too often there is a wide gap between intent and execution. Let me just state for the record that Brandy is good, Cognac not so much.

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