I forget when it happened but one day I realized that Schadenfreude had been a big part of my life, both sending and receiving. I think it's a big part of everyone's life.
The secret of a politician is to get rich and powerful without accumulating so much of it that you die a political death.
Schadenfreude is the reason that people seek out friends at their same level in society. It's why, when a friend gets rich he stops hanging out with you. Because the Schadenfreude you emit is tangible, they can feel it.
We kind of all wish there were no such thing, that we could rise above it, but perhaps not so much in the case of Mitt Romney. Here's a guy who soaks up huge quanitties of Schadenfreude, and it's probably why he's unelectable. Rick Perry on the other hand is so good at projecting anti-Schadenfreude that people think he's to damned dumb to be President, even though we'd love to drink a beer with him (not me so much, but other people).