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Tim Lihoreau

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11 People You Don't Want To Be Friends With

Posted: 05/20/2012 9:05 am

To paraphrase a very old joke, I still don't quite know why my mother didn't make me a mornuntiaphiliac. Perhaps she didn't have enough wool, so I got a purple tank top instead.

To explain, my mum always used to be an inveterate mornuntiaphiliac - that is, someone who delights in announcing a death. Passing on news of a passing on, you might say. Indeed, she was a supreme mistress of this particularly dark art. Her skill with the extended, tortuously tantalizing, almost labyrinthine lead in, sometimes lasting several minutes and always culminating in the, by then, totally expected but somehow nevertheless shocking revelation of a friend's mortality, was second to none. As a party piece, it wasn't quite up there with playing underwater accordion or telling gags in Swedish, but, nevertheless, it formed a crucial part of my growing-up years.

So I got to wondering: Why didn't she pass this trait down to me? Perhaps, then, we all have our own Schadenfreude palette (that is, the desire to gloat and find happiness in the misfortunes of others).

Having thought about it, I instantly began to notice the said traits amongst friends, relatives and, indeed, total strangers.

So I decided to collect them. To admit to some of them, yes, possibly, but mainly to collate and christen them - each ambrosial bliss, each nectarious relish, each ravishing indulgence.
While in my youth there may certainly have been some self-preserving resistance to mornuntiaphilia, (see above) I am pretty sure that one of my earliest childhood recollections is of a turpaphiliac neighbor (the one who delights in the less than beautiful nature of a friends offspring) who took one look at me - despite being the shape of a space hopper now, back then I think I was already lanky while still in a cot - and said, "Lovely pram. Is that the Silver Cross Viceroy?" It may be a trick of the memory.

Going out only at night, then, I began to work at the local opera house and quickly became a benedixophiliac (one who delights in baiting a posh person). I will certainly admit to eboracophilia (see below) since birth. Now? Now I am but a verophiliac, (one who delights in being right) libresophile (one who delights in taking the free trial product and canceling within the period) with petrusophiliac (delight in namedropping) tendencies - but my deepest darkest joy, my most schaden of freudes, has got to be nothesohilia (delight in using new technology).

Here, however, are a bunch of philial friends to beware of:

Tim Lihoreau is the author of Schadenfreude: The Little Book of Black Delights [Elliott & Thompson, $14.95].

The Vinoptophiliac: the one who delights in the display of an invite-only credit card.
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Vinoptophilia's roots are lost in the mists of time but its name suggests it has something to do with the flaunting of fine wines. If practiced correctly, this is one of the most subtle philias in the book.

Indeed to the sufferers themselves it has to be done subtly or not at all. The chap who mentions his new card all through dinner and annoys the waiter by trying to pay for each course separately is not who we are discussing here. The true vinoptophiliac discretely takes his card from his wallet at the last moment - preferably while simultaneously deep in conversation - and does not check the bill. His micro smile, if indeed it is there, is not connected to the flash of recognition, possibly even awe, given off by his dining partners. However, the method of display is all-important. In much the same way as The Queen's wave is the result of centuries of tradition, the classic, two-fingered "cigarette" hold which bears a vinoptophiliac's card aloft to the waiter is very, very well practiced. Remember, this is their moment. The card itself, which came in a rhodium box, hand-delivered by limousine (but not until three weeks of "small tokens of our esteem" such as luxury holidays and hampers had preceded it) is there to be enjoyed. The money transfer side of the transaction is irrelevant. What is relevant is that the bearer has to pay the price of a small midtown duplex for a monthly charge and, as they carelessly let slip, "the Sultan of Brunei has the one below this." If possible, the vinoptophiliac times the retrieval of his new pet card from his wallet to precisely the moment when someone else places theirs, thus making it appear like a piece of glowing kryptonite against a steaming cow pattie. Guess which is which.

[vinum, wine; optimus, best]
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