Thursday, February 08, 2007

Schadenfreude Rules

It's February. And it's cold. Really, really cold. My two oldest boys went back to school today after three colder than cold "snow days" off. As hard as it was being pent up in my teeny-tiny house for three straight days with three young boys (I kept the little one home from daycare even though it was open; I'm a martyr), man do I pity those poor teachers today.

Well, part of me pities those poor teachers; part of me is filled with an odd sense of schadenfreude. That's just how I roll.

On Super Bowl Sunday I headed out in the cold to pick my middle son up from a birthday party. I stopped at Speedway to get a cup of coffee, and someone asked the clerk if he was going to miss the game or if he could listen to it on the radio. He quickly replied, "No, I'm taping the game at home and nobody better tell me anything about it before I watch that tape."

The clerk's response reminded me of a show I was in years ago at LTOB in Grove City. We were doing "The House of Blue Leaves", and tech week started on Super Bowl Sunday during the game. A couple of cast members brought transistor radios so they could keep track of the score.

But one member of the crew, "Bob" (not his real name), was adamant about not knowing anything about the game. He was taping it at home and made it clear that he did not want to know anything that was happening. He was sort of irrational and belligerent about it, and I remember being surprised at that, because I thought I knew Bob pretty well and this behavior was something I hadn't seen before.

Back then, I was not at all into football, and on that night I'm sure I didn't even know which two teams were playing. I remember thinking how silly Bob was being, and I remember how surprised I was that Bob was being so unreasonable. Several times during the night, when someone would start to report the score, Bob would curse and storm away from the immediate area so he wouldn't hear.

I was playing Bunny in the show, and at the time it was sort of a typecast role for me so I was really having fun with it. I mean, I got to wear a leopard miniskirt and dance on top of a piano. And the best part is that I looked GOOD in that miniskirt. Damn.

Anyway, I hadn't a care in the world...I was recently engaged, had a lead role in a great show with my favorite director, and it was finally tech week. All was right with the world.

But as the night wore on (as tech rehearsals tend to do) the tension mounted over Bob's impatience with missing the Super Bowl and the rest of us trying to keep any details about the game a secret. The entire cast and crew was walking on eggshells.

At last, rehearsal was over. It was late. After the director gave notes, it was finally time to head home.

This is where the story gets fuzzy, but someone (and for the life of me I can't remember who -- I'd kill to remember who it was) stopped by the theatre to see if we were still there and if anyone was going out.

Whoever the guy was wasn't hip to the fact that we had spent the evening tiptoeing around Bob, desperately trying to keep from mentioning anything about the Super Bowl lest our normally mild-mannered friend pull out a homemade machine gun and let us all have it.

It sort of happened in slow motion. The mystery dude (damn, I wish I could remember) just walked into the theatre, stood in the doorway at the back of the house, and announced the outcome of the game. Just like that. Most of us were still sitting in the front rows after notes, and I can still remember turning around to look up into the booth, where Bob stood peering down.

There was a moment of stunned silence. Then, like some sort of caged animal, Bob let out a string of obscenities that I swear would embarrass Andrew Dice Clay. Then, he oh-so-quietly grabbed his coat, put on his hat and silently walked out of the theatre.

And one perfect theatre-beat later, I burst out laughing. Schadenfreude rules, man. That's just how I roll.