When I woke up this morning, I rolled over to my laptop and became upset that the internet server was down and I could not check my e-mail. After my shower, I realized that I had not given my laundry to the housekeeper and had to rummage through my dirty pile to find a shirt that I had worn last week for a couple hours.
At work, it began pouring raining and, while looking at the window, I realized that although I had remembered to bring my umbrella today, I had worn sandals and my feet would inevitably get soaked on my walk home. Discouraged, I went to put my earphones in my Ipod and remembered that I didn’t want to leave the comfort of my bed to find my charger, so my device was dead.
Finally, to combat the low temperature in the office, I went to pour a cup of coffee. In two seconds, I spilled milk on the floor and a large clump of sugar fell into my mug rendering my fresh beverage unbearably sweet and impossible to drink. Just my luck I thought, and sighed realizing I was having a bad day.
As I pitied myself, I ran across an article on CNN entitled Viral ad campaign hits #FirstWorldProblems. Being out of the country keeps me out of the loop of trends, so I had no clue what this meant. Yet, intrigued by the use of a hashtag in a headline, I clicked to read on.
The first sentence read, “Do you hate it when your mint gum makes your ice water taste too cold?” My body shuddered as I recalled that nerve rattling jolt I get when I try to take a gulp of water after popping in a fresh piece of Winterfresh. Yes, I thought, and read on.
The article was about a video, “First World Problems Anthem.” by group WATERisLife that features impoverished Haitians reciting tweets from #FirstWorldProblems, it said.
Naturally, I had to watch the video. In one minute, I heard things that I have complained about such as asking for no pickles and getting pickles or leaving clothes in the washer and they begin to mildew. I also heard things that were above my social class, such as needing two internet routers because my house is too big for one, or forgetting the maids last name as I am writing a check.
All these things were being said by persons who lived in shambled houses with practically empty interiors as they washed their clothes in a creek. The tagline at the end said “#FirstWorldProblems Are Not Problems,” and urged people to donate money for potable water in the area.
It was interesting to see the reactions to the video. A number of people felt bad for complaining, while others took the humor side agreeing with the video and commenting that “It’s nice to see they have the same problems I do.”
However, the comment that stood out to me the most said, “when people try to make you feel bad about your first world problems, #FirstWorldProblems.”
This person wrote the very thing I was thinking, and I was reminded of a stand I continue to take. No one should ever be made to feel sorry for being privileged. Many people worked hard and overcame obstacles to get where they are.
Also, those who were born into the life of opportunity should not be chastised either. We have seen this criticism a lot in the presidential elections. Many, including the President, have taken jabs at Masschusett’s Governor Mitt Romney’s wealth. But the fact is, he nor anyone else can help his background anymore than a person can help being a specific or race of a specific nationality.
In my eyes it’s how a person “pays it forward” that makes a difference.
The thing that I can agree with is no one, including myself, should complain about unfavorable things that happen. Especially, things as frivolous as these. As the old proverb says, “When you think about how bad you have it, remember someone always has it worse.”
This is the whole point of this whole video, to say while you are thinking about how much of a inconvenience it is to get up to plug up your phone, there is someone out there who doesn’t have a phone. And to top that, their house is solely a place of shelter and will never have the perks of internet and flat screen televisions.
And for those who complain about getting pickles, there are persons who don’t have food or safe water to drink. You are in a position to help, so please do it.
The video is very effective in it’s messaging, and it certainty made me rethink my outlook on my morning. Just my luck, I could be facing #ThirdWorldProblems.
So, maybe I’m not having such a bad day after all.