Shelley Bridgeman 's Opinion

Dwelling on injustices, bad behaviour and modern day dilemmas.

Shelley Bridgeman: First World Problems

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Oh dear. The doctor forgot to give me the little rubber ball to squeeze so my Botox injections really hurt. Photo / Thinkstock
Oh dear. The doctor forgot to give me the little rubber ball to squeeze so my Botox injections really hurt. Photo / Thinkstock

We are accused of airing First World Problems whenever we make a complaint so insignificant that it really only serves to emphasise the fact that we are fortunate enough to enjoy extremely privileged circumstances.

As explained at knowyourmeme.com, "[i]t is typically used as a tongue-in-cheek comedic device to make light of trivial inconveniences." In comparison to real problems such as hunger, cholera and rape, First World Problems (had to park far from door, your show isn't in HD, too much goat cheese in salad) just make us look self-obsessed and superficial.

The very term First World Problems comes with it own issues, implying as it does the existence of a Third World. In fact, officially Third World countries are now more properly known as developing countries but I guess Problems of Developing Nations doesn't have quite the same ring. And anyway, First World Problems is much better than White Whines - a term that is catchy yet potentially offensive to non-Caucasians.

The act of labelling our petty inconveniences as First World Problems serves to underscore the trivialities of our pampered lives and highlight the exaggerated levels of comfort we often take for granted. Hopefully it might also shame us into considering the plights of people who can only dream about having such privileged concerns.

Some First World Problems are:

* The doctor forgot to give me the little rubber ball to squeeze so my Botox injections really hurt.

* There are no lie-flat beds on our flight to Singapore so I don't know how we're supposed to get any sleep.

* Elephant Hill changed its menu and now I don't know what to have for a starter.

* Our au pair came home late again and woke up the children.

* I had to go to Depot three times before I managed to get a table for lunch.

* Air New Zealand has changed its frequent flyer reward system and now I might have to fly cattle class.

* I had the Moroccan salad at Next Generation gym and they left out the figs.

"It isn't easy being a privileged citizen of a developed nation", according to www.first-world-problems.com which catalogues boutique woes often based around food, drink, recreation, travel, transport and technology - and includes such gems as:

* My driver got us lost on the way to the yacht broker.

*As we were dining at the nicest place in town, I was (fruitlessly) searching for a cheese platter on the menu as my dad was complaining about the hassle of having teams working for him across three time-zones and two countries.

* I was given too many bottles of champagne for my engagement and now the fridge is full.

* My back hurts from carrying my $2,000 laptop around.

* I just had to switch bathrooms because this one had no reception.

*The increased leg room they have in First Class means I have to stand up to get my in-flight magazine from the seat pocket in front of me.

* The guy who cleans my yard barely seemed to be listening when I told him about all the stuff I got for Christmas.

* I have caviar stuck in my braces.

* I wish I hadn't used all my pain pills for non-pain-related purposes.

* My beach house isn't close enough to the beach.

* I had to spit out my ice cube because it wasn't made with filtered water.

So what's your favourite First World Problem? Please do share.

Shelley Bridgeman

Dwelling on injustices, bad behaviour and modern day dilemmas.

Shelley Bridgeman is a truck-driving, supermarket-going, horse-riding mother-of-one who is still married to her first husband. As a Herald online blogger, she specialises in First World Problems and delves fearlessly into the minutiae of daily life. Twice a week, she shares her perspective on a pressing current issue and invites readers to add their ten cents’ worth to the debate.

Read more by Shelley Bridgeman

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