First World Problems

Written by larry on August 12th, 2013

We had the good fortune last weekend to enjoy a well-performed rendition of Fiddle On The Roof at a local playhouse. (If you’re unfamiliar with the show, go here, read, and come back.) Mostly, Fiddler is about cultural change, told through the vehicle of the protagonist’s daughters choosing to marry for love, rather than accepting arranged marriages. But the back story resonated with me as well, that of an small village living in abject poverty, eventually being displaced by a decree from the Tzar.

Which got me thinking about a phrase that’s been getting some traction lately: “First World Problems”. If you’re reading this, you’re almost certainly one of the global one percenters; you live in a heated home, you’re more at risk for obesity than malnutrition, and its unlikely that you’ll be evicted by the Tzar any time soon¹.

But you’ve got first-world problems, instead. Examples:

When you travel with your children, you carry so much ‘kid equipment’ that you had to trade in your sedan for a mini-van.

With 400 channels of cable, there are three shows you’d like to watch tonight, but your DVR can only record two simultaneously.

Jet lag.


As annoying as these may be, they don’t include things like roving gangs of marauders killing you, raping your wife, and enslaving your children.

Does this make your first-world problems trivial? Of course not.

Well… actually, maybe it does.

Agreed, they may not seem trivial. But a bit of time reflecting on the way things once were, or perhaps could someday again be, helps breed sanity in dealing with the affairs of day-to-day life². I highly recommend it.


1- OTOH…
2- HT to Nevil Shute


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