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    TIMOTHYNOHE   112,068
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Schadenfreude

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

When Mike was in 10th grade, a couple of friends asked him if he wanted to go smoke some weed with them. He responded, "No, I'm busy. Some other time."

According to him a polite way to put the friends off.

When his friend, the son of Mike's dentist, was caught, she asked him where he got the dope. He blurted "Mike!" then almost immediately backtracked.

But that was enough for Dr. Mom-or-Dope-Smoker or Dr. MOPS. To her, Mike was now a drug dealer. And she told everyone who would listen. Some parents believed her, some did not.

I can tell you this: if Mike was a drug dealer he was the worst one in the world.

When he got a car, She(WMBO) insisted that he drive something big. A late model Suburban. So what we have here is a teenage, Black male driving a late model Suburban. That of course, unbeknownst to us, gave credibility to Dr MOPS's rumor-mongering.

Last year after Mike graduated high school, a Catholic, all-boys school, Mike was called by a friend who was still a student at the Mount. It seems the Principal, Mr Fitzpatrick sent several parent letters that their sons were associating with a "known drug dealer." And he named Mike.

And our lawyer said we could not successfully sue.

So Mike tried to set up a meeting with Mr F. He got one but it was cancelled and all he got to talk to was the Dean of Discipline. He took me along. I ended the meeting by telling him that if he had any real substantial suspicions, he should call the police.

It seems they may have done just that. Over the next four months, Mike was pulled over several times for such frivolous things as a burned out Daytime Running Light (not an inspection item) and rolling through a stop sign (who doesn't?). Then the police talked to him and told him he had been under observation. And they found nothing.

And yet the rumors persisted. That is one reason he went to Los Angeles, to get away from the rumors. When he came home at Christmas he was quizzed by some: Jail? Rehab? Change of market? He was happy to go back West.

I told you all that to tell you this. One of the things I suggested to him to throw out at Mr Fitzpatrick in his meeting was "How would you feel if I started to tell everyone that I thought you were involved in inappropriate contact with some of your students?" Not to accuse him, but to compare his lies to parents with something he could relate to. As a respected principal of a private school his word was believed even if it was not true. What would they thing if they heard a rumor about him?

Mike never did that.

Today Mr Fitzpatrick was asked to resign his position at the Mount because of "inappropriate communications" with a student. Those communications were not exposed by a student but by a random screening of emails on the school's system.

Mike told me on the phone today that he felt bad that he felt good about this turn of events. "Karma?"

Nah. Karma is when something bad happens to you and it's like payback. Nothing bad *happened* to Mr Fitzpatrick. He brought it on himself. He had inappropriate communications with a student on the school network and had the hubris to think he wouldn't be caught.

I told him that what he was feeling was Schadenfreude.

And sometimes a little schadenfreude is good.
 


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