On Schadenfreude

The times are too difficult and the crisis too severe to indulge in schadenfreude. — Noam Chomsky

Schadenfreude is Oscar
says my machine translator

a small orange fish
who snaps a live grashüpfer

out of the bowl.

Oscar says schadenfreude
is glee in English

either gāoxìng happiness
or xìngzāilèhuò gloating

in Mandarin. Oscar

says alegría de mal ajeno
is schadenfreude in Spanish.

Happiness is alegría
so schadenfreude
is the happiness of ill aliens.

Oscar says
mal is ill and ajeno is alien,
not joy at another’s ill fortune.

Schadenfreude is kanki
rapture in Japanese
or entzücken, verzückung

in German,
surfing a virtual cosmos

to glückseligkeit.

I covet Oscar’s
lexicon, cross-indexed

schadenfreude of errant calques
whose sole client
is one lexicographer with a fish

who devours
suffixes and happiness —

no twinge of etymological envy
as he circles
a schwärmerei of bliss.

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