Tag Archives: Suitcases

First-World Problems

by Richard

I’m going to call what I just went through for the last couple of weeks a major first-world problem. All right with you dudes? Sure it is. You know what I’m talking about.

For those of you who don’t, a first-world problem is something that’s really — in the grand scheme of things — only something to worry about because we’ve got so much else buffering us from the harsh realities of life that so many other people have to struggle with every day just to survive. For instance, having your favorite nail polish stop making the color you’ve been using for the last year or so and it was just the right color and now you don’t have anything to match it. Or, the hi-def channels aren’t working and you’ve already got all the beer cooled and the snack foods left out and all the dudes over and the game’s about to start.

These things are annoying, sure. But they’re not something we should be making a big deal over.

Neither, of course, is not having access to your own personal washing machine for more than two weeks. But I still just about had a hissy fit until we got it back, let me tell you.

The washing machine started to go bad a couple of days before the apocalyptic ending in which it spun and shook and spun and shook and made more noise than the last Kiss concert. Although, to be fair, it was slightly more rhythmic. It was toast.

So I called the Sears repairfolk and they sent someone over. He looked it over and said, “Hmmmm.” Then he printed out a receipt, said he had to order some parts and would be back in a week. Before the week was up, I got another call that the parts were backordered and it would be a while longer.

Finally, this week, it got fixed. I just about fell to my knees in thanks.

I’d been having to make these long trips to the local coin laundry, lugging heavy suitcases of clothing along with soap and fabric softener and lots and lots of quarters. Sure it was fun, in that I got to sit there and watch some TV talk to the other folks haunting the waiting area until we heard our ding and all that. The thing is, though, it made it so I couldn’t do anything else but wash. Stuff got put off. Which meant I put off doing the laundry. Until it was a huge mess. Which made it more difficult to do. Which meant I put it off. . .

You get the point. Definitely a first-world problem. At least I had clean clothing, and a place to wash them that wasn’t filled with swimming, eating and pooping fishy creatures. And nothing wanted to eat me while at the watering hole.

Yes, I’m probably spoiled. Just like you dudes, but I gotta tell you, I like it. I like being able to do laundry any time and however much I want.

Thank you Sears repairfolk for finally getting the job done. Now, if you’ll excuse me I have to do go some laundry.

And, of course, I’ve run out of the liquid soap so I’ll have to use that dry powder and it’s all messy and I’ll have to have one of the young dudes vacuum it up. Ugh. It’s just going to be terrible.

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Me First And The Gimmie Gimmies*

by Richard

When dads sit down around the campfire after a long day of herding little dudes and cleaning up after them, there’s a cautionary tale that gets told to the shivers of the listeners. It goes something like this.

There was a family with three little dudes and or dudettes. It doesn’t matter. The family was planning a vacation to somewhere warm, sandy and delightful. As they were doing the final pack up, they heard the news. At the resort, a bird who’s species is on the verge of extinction had flown into the engine of a fully loaded jet as it was coming in for a landing. The jet went down in a ball of flame, killing all on board as well as wiping out the resort and causing a fire that devastated the tiny island.

“Oh, how horrible,” said the mom.

“That’s just terrible,” said the dad as he began to unpack their suitcases.

The middle little dude looked on, aghast. He couldn’t believe what he was seeing.

“Wait,” he said. “Why are you unpacking? That doesn’t affect me, does it? Well, find something else.”

And the group around the campfire shivers, knowing the little dude just didn’t get it. All he worried about was whether or not he was going to get something. The dads hoped they were raising their little dudes to be better than that. They picked up their plates of beans and started a fart contest. Whatddya want? They’re dudes.

The problem is that little dude’s reaction wasn’t all that unusual. There’s little dudes all over the world that only care about something if it affects them, or how they want to do stuff. I may, just may, know this from personal experience. Maybe.

I’m not sure why this happens. I’m not sure how a little dude becomes so focused on himself that he sees the entire world through the lens of how it will affect him. I think, though, there are some ways to work with the non-functional-brained little dudes.

One way is the bait and switch. Offer the little dude something he or she really wants, or says he or she does, and then make it contingent on doing something nice for someone more than once. Or tell them they can’t have it. And then give it to them only after they’ve made an unprompted gesture of niceness toward another member of the family.

I think we need to make sure kids like these widen their perspective more than a little bit. Let themselves see the outside world has more to offer and needs more from the people living in it than what happens to them.

*not the band, although they’re awesome.

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