I was talking to my dad the other day about Shane Warne. Now, this is not something I do very often. I’m not a cricket fan. In fact, I’m about as big a fan of cricket as I am of cleaning Mephy Danger’s litter tray. I find it SO BORING. Throw the ball, hit the ball, run up and down, run after the ball, throw it back, aaaaannnnddd do it all over again. My dad has tried to explain to me for a zillion years that it’s much more complicated than that: there are things called “leg before wickets” and “silly mid offs” and “googlies”. This does not enhance my appreciation of the sport, but thank you, dad, for trying.
So, why was I talking to my dad about Shane Warne, then? Well, see, here’s the thing: I want him and Liz to get together. I want the powers that be to reinstate his TV show. I want him to SUCCEED! My dad didn’t really get this. “Don’t you just want him to do well?” I asked. “No,” said my dad (who is, by the way, an extremely caring and compassionate person, usually). “He deserves all of this. He’s a plonker. Why do you care?”
That made me stop and think. I’d always just assumed people ALWAYS cared, when someone was going through a rough trot. I assumed EVERYONE picked up magazines about Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears and Whitney Huston and Robert Downey Junior and just hoped and prayed that the story inside would be a positive one of career renewal and personal growth. I mean, I know that all of these stars have brought it on themselves, and I know that – like my husband says – I probably shouldn’t care about these spoiled, pampered people WHO I DO NOT EVEN KNOW, but …
I want Matt Le Blanc to have a stellar career now Friends is over (on this point, I spent the greater part of this morning on IMDB, looking up all the actors from Friends and just HOPING they’d gone on to great things. Um, most hadn’t. Which made me sad). I want Ben Cousins to get his life together and return to football bigger and better. I wanted Christina Aguilera’s latest album to be a hit. I want every Jennifer Aniston movie to win at the box office. I wanted Ricky Ponting to get the Ashes back (and not just because I’m a Tasmanian. I actually don’t really even know what The Ashes even ARE. I just didn’t want Ricky to be sad). I want Brad and Angelina to be happy. I want Courtney and David to get back together! I want the latest vampire book to be good and I want people to stop criticising Jamie Oliver because his 30 minute meals sometimes take longer than 30 minutes to prepare! Goshdarnit!
I just don’t GET this whole “schadenfreude” thing. When people stuff up, I feel for them. I don’t think this makes me a better person than someone who was really happy that the latest Harry Potter wasn’t as awesome as the rest of them. I just can’t HELP it. Am I the only one who thinks like this? Is it pathetic that I care? Or, like my dad and my husband – the two best men in the world – reckon: I shouldn’t give a toss* about plonkers like Shane Warne.
*See what I did there? That was a cricketing metaphor … right? Do they toss stuff in cricket? Ummm …
Addendum and clarification: Since I have been asked, no I don’t feel sorry for people like Mel Gibson and Chris Brown. There is no excuse – ever – for hitting a woman. I just wish they hadn’t done it!!!