Respecting First World Problems


Respecting First World ProblemsPINIMAGE

Respecting First World Problems


When I was a little girl I didn’t know what was happening two blocks over, let alone on the other side of the world…


then I grew up and suddenly I was responsible for tempering the weight of my angst against every global problem with a bottomless solution.



One night (pre-teen), while cleaning the dishes, my mother walked by the sink and said, ‘We feed our garbage disposals better then most kids in Africa’.


Holy Hell in a Hay Basket.


What am I supposed to do with that?


Can I mail the liver and onions to Kenya?


I’ll ask the milkman what he does with all the ice cream sandwiches he doesn’t sell.


… And the ‘Feeling Responsible For Things You Can Never Effect So You Should Just Keep Your Mouth Shut and Suck-It Up’ began.


Happy Days.


But ya know what? It’s BullShit.


Bull to the S to the I’ve got my own worries and they Matter!


Picture: pom-poms swishing across my body and then a jump in the air with the inevitable botched landing and now I’m crawling off to find some Tylenol. It’s the effort that counts- no?


We are all living in the ‘here and now’. My ‘here’ is in a too-soft chair that is giving me a leg ache, and my ‘now’ is minutes after I’ve said goodbye to my daughter as she returns to the place she lives and prepares for a trip to the other side of the World as a veterinarian student.


Remember the first time you let your kids go to town by themselves? Now, multiply that by about 1,000.


Here are some other issues that are on my mind and important:


What will I prepare for dinner tonight? Not important enough for you? Stop thinking about this and the meals add-up. Next thing you know you’re eating out all of the time, and lo and behold, you’re 30 lbs over weight and your clothes don’t fit, making new clothing articles a priority, forcing you to purchase clothes at discount (because you don’t want to spend a fortune as you’re certain this is only temporary hahahahaa), no matter that these clothes are made in sweat shops in India by little children getting 5cents a day or they are put on the streets to beg by their parents.


Dinner. Abused children. It’s a slippery slope.


Another gem- The Yard Sale. Should the items be just donated- flat out- to people in need or should they be sold and added to another’s cargo of crap they don’t really need? Does one take the proceeds and buy more crap or does one donate the $100 dollars in nickels to the local animal shelter, because without these small donations surely a dog won’t receive the medical and psychological care she needs from the ‘Fighting Ring’ it was rescued from.


How then, does this effect the pricing of ‘said’ items for sale? Should one price to ‘sell’ or price to save an animal- dare I say World?


Of course you could just donate on a regular basis, but you’re thinking you do enough already, and your Christmas donation is generous enough, so up-cycling is the answer. The sale is on. You’ll volunteer more, and buy that little patent leather handbag you’ve had your eye on. It was made in India- so there’s that.


And another: Recycling. Admit it. It’s a conundrum. When I tally the gallons of water it takes me to rinse clean all of the recycled items that I meticulously separate for easy distribution just to see it all dumped in the same pile in the back of the truck, I wonder who’s fooling whom? Then, of course, there’s the What Do They Accept? policies. My neighborhood waste management company doesn’t recycle glass. It has been suggested that we recycle our glass through the private recycling program at Tulane University- which is private, with parking tickets involved, and scornful looks from coeds, not to mention the petrol needed to wind my way through the ongoing road blocks that accompany the last-minute Use-It-Or-Lose-It FEMA money that has our road surfaces currently torn-up, making, if necessary, a timely trip to a maternity ward, nearly impossible.


See- Recycling to perilous births. All interconnected.


Then we have Energy. It’s HOT here, but I’ve got the AC on half-mast. I often wonder how people survived before air conditioning which always brings me around to share cropping and all that stooping in fields. And what about the catastrophic climate conditions of the 1930s dust bowl and the migrant workers who moved west with Model Ts full-up with sick kids and a rolled-up piece of linoleum. That must have put tremendous pressure on the California infrastructure. Maybe that’s why avocados are so expensive? Should I eat more of them? And what about King Crabs? Have you seen Deadliest Catch? They should charge more. Of course, I won’t have any money left to support these industries after paying my electric bill, but I should consume more items that help others make a living wage unless by doing so I reduce my discretionary income, and then, I can’t afford to support anything, and I need assistance, and then I’m a cog in the wheels of progress and no one’s buying avocados, so there’s a migration out of California, and they end up in Alaska and the crab gets fished-out and then my grandchildren will never be able to taste the sweet deliciousness of yet another species that goes belly-up.


I’m saving a species people. A SPECIES.


Of course, none of this is logical. None of it translates. None of these ‘worries’ and actions actually effect change of any kind on a large level, and yet here today, in modern society, we are scorned for expressing any worry smaller than a global crisis.


What a shame that we have lost our ability to empathize on a intimate level.


Let’s change that.


If you find your challenges today are how to pay for your child’s day care, what to do when you get a flat on a highway, how to make a baby stop crying before you blow your brains out, that menacing migraine with no half-hard transportation to get to the doctor, how to juggle all your obligations, that you forgot your wallet, that you’ve over-packed your suitcase or forgot your umbrella, I’m here.


Respecting your life.


Because I’m just a girl, looking at the daily grind, asking it to make sure I cop my morning caffeine buzz before the phone rings, and the problems start again…


… Because they matter.


Respecting First World ProblemsPINIMAGE

Respecting First World Problems

  • Cary Vaughn - And I just want donuts but can’t because I’m on a “fitness challenge” diet of clean eating and exercise. The crises is real.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - It truly is… on. And I have a beignet joint down the street. And it’s calling me!!! Holy Shit.ReplyCancel

  • Roshni - Agreed! I’ve been guilty of mentioning all the hungry street kids in India when my kids don’t finish their plate of food and then wondering how the hell that could be relevant to them!
    It’s true that problems in the first world are real but when someone whines about not being able to buy the latest iPhone because she just blew up her bonus on a Fendi purchase, I do cringe!!
    As you say….perspective!!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - People can be their worst enemies, but you know what I’m taking about here *wink* Last weekend I heard a 26yo complain about not being able to go on a trip to Mexico this year, b/c she is in Grad School, and her parents are paying for that. I shake my head too sometimes.ReplyCancel

  • MJM - Awesome piece as always my friend, you gave us a hearty laugh at times, and lots of food for thought at other times.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Thanks MJ. Food- Laughter- Food- Laughter. All good stuff! Ha!ReplyCancel

  • Michelle Matthews - Thank you for making me laugh and reminding me of my mother simultaneously.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - My pleasure! On both counts. Splendid!ReplyCancel

  • Ruth Curran - It is all about perspective isn’t it? We all make choices based on what has our attention at that moment. Your attention just happens to land on choices that are simply much funnier things than mine :)! Thanks for cracking me up yet again!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - If I don’t find the irony in things I won’t get out of bed. I WILL eat in bed- just not get out of it. And then that leads to other problems…. do ya see the slippery slope in it all? Of course, you do.ReplyCancel

  • Lisa at Grandma's Briefs - What matters to each of us really does matter — even if it matters to no one else. BUT, my matters are so freakin’ trivial most of the time, I need to make them not matter so much. Great food for thought here, Cheryl!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - – even if it matters to no one else (sooooo true and well parsed. I wish I had said that) and as for ‘trivial’ we all need to put our ‘issues’ in perspective. Almost separate issues- no?ReplyCancel

  • Carol Cassara - You really are hilarious. Don’t let me miss you when we next visit NO!ReplyCancel

  • Joan Harrington - Wow great post and enjoyed so much! Thank you for sharing 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Karen D. Austin - Thanks for validating concerns of women on both sides of the spectrum. I have befriended women with even greater resources than mine, and I learned that they have their own challenges that stretch them mind, body and soul. Not every problem can be solved by throwing money at it. I know this as a middle class person, but my few friends who are super rich also hit the wall, and I learned to give them compassion (well, most of the time. It’s hard when they complain about problems while traveling abroad extensively. That’s tough for me because I want to go!)ReplyCancel

  • Mary - Thank you for having me stop thinking about my stresses for a moment! I totally enjoyed reading this great post!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Your so welcome and whatever your ‘stresses’ are they’re REAL and important Mary, but I’m glad I could ‘Calgone Take ME Away’ for a moment! remember that commercial? So funny.ReplyCancel

  • Sheryl Kraft - Thanks for this – I suppose we all should be permitted to feel like our problems matter, without having to relate them to the larger problems of the world, right?ReplyCancel

  • Carolann - Oye! If I had to think about all the things that bother me each moment of the day or dish I washed, or shower I took – I’d go bloody raving mad! Of course, we have to be responsible and do what we can to help out each other and our planet, but I can only worry about one thing at a time or I crash and burn!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - SO true. In reverse, I think many people get stuck on the BIG problems and can’t get resolution to their own. There’s a balance- right?ReplyCancel

  • Leanne@crestingthehill - Starving children, child trafficking, child prostitution, terrorism, brutality……our world is going to hell in a handbasket & it’s nice to hear someone say that it is okay to not be able to fix everything – thank you for that 🙂ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - We’ve gotta give ourselves a break from all the guilt for not being superhuman, for the love of God. Hopefully I can ‘fix’ the things around me- sometimes in the neighborhood, if I’m lucky in the metropolitan area. But the WORLD? I wasn’t born with a cape. Thanks for chiming in Leanne. I appreciate it.ReplyCancel

  • Mari Collier - You have a skewed view of things, but then so do I. Some problems people must solve on their own. Other times, you are able to really help someone. (No, not saying what. That was between them and my husband and me.) Fortunately, Mama never told us about starving children in Africa. I had to read that in the paper for myself. I knew I couldn’t do anything as a child. Not sure I want a cook. It is one of the few household chores I do like.ReplyCancel

  • Kathleen O'Donnell - This is exactly why every crisis is inflated to a global level. Political correctness and guilt. We don’t have to feel guilty for worrying about if HELL IS ABOUT TO BREAK LOOSE. I for one want a national effort to get rid of my post-menopausal belly fat. HeLLO? Can you say TRAGEDY of NATIONAL proportions? Thank you my NOLA friend for putting it all into the appropriate perspective.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Post-menopausal belly fat is of the most urgent of crisis’. If I didn’t think the UN was such a piece of SHIT I’d demand something be done about it! We could show up together and convince them I think? Yes- we could. XXOOReplyCancel

  • Linda Roy - Hell to the yes on all of this, and in particular, the yard sale thing resonates. We always donate. My SIL, God love her, she can do what she wants, non uh mah biznez…but she has a yard sale every time her kids grow out of a pair of shoes. God forbid she doesn’t see a return on her investment. I hate to be judgmental, but I kinda hate that shit more.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Don’t you just LUV the people who try to make Yard Sales a retail operation. I want to find their hose and water the whole thing done. Idiots.ReplyCancel

  • Abby - A lot of serious stuff there, wow! Life can be overwhelming at times, can’t it Cheryl? :))) But there is only that much stuff one can take, right? I’m pro saving though- the liver, the dog etc because we never know when we might need somebody’s help:)ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Oh, I’m ALL ABOUT waste not-want not. No reason to be frivolous. My cats will probably save me anyways. Meow….ReplyCancel

  • Sue - I think of all these things and more. I am dreaming of a our truck filled with stuff to donate so I have room for more stuff or maybe not. All I want this week is to not be cut off over and over from multiple customer service centers and an answer to my important how-to update my computer so I can work problem. Love this whole post!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Those are truly concerning. I’m NOT kidding. Those kinds of ‘issues’ are the real deal baby. Life, and all of it’s crap, will be here l-o-n-g after we’re all gone.ReplyCancel

  • Rena McDaniel - I remember liver and onion night my mom would say the exact same thing and invariably one of the boys would ask if he could mail it to them. This was so hilarious, CherylReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - The larger Global question is: Who the HELL serves liver & onions to little kids and expects them to like it? Jeez!!!!ReplyCancel

  • Gary Sidley - The challenges in my life escalated considerably last night: the Pizza house had run out of stuffed crust!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - See- stuff like that! Important! HahahaaaaReplyCancel

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