May. 4, 2015

Nothing Short of a Disaster

      I live, rather happily, in an emerging nation in Central America.  Living as an Ex Patriot, it is easy to notice things, ‘cause we don’t have a lot to do.

      Many, but certainly not all, from our ExPat community have an unshakable need to hear and impart the appalling details of each other’s aches, pains, treatments and procedures.  We seem to relish them, bathe in their awfulness and almost wish we had more noteworthy ailments.

      The more horror-filled your story, the better.  We, as individuals, then go into a very special one-up mode, a la, “Oh yeah!  You think that abdominal aortic aneurysm was something?  Last week I died of Dengue fever!”

      I suppose it is not a thing unique to my little part of the world.  It is what happens when people get old.  Health care and disease states increase and we get comfortable thinking about such things in great detail. 

      Thinking, inevitably leads to talking.  Talking about health issues, because it is a subject common to us all, leads to Too Much Information.

      Remarkably, telling people you don’t want to hear about things that are essentially and often disgustingly biological only causes them to intensify their efforts to tell you. 

      Please, don’t get me wrong, there are people with serious, life-ending illnesses and for them I wish there was something I could do.  Often, all they need is all we can do – listen and offer support.

      The problem shows up because I’ve found that folks for whom the end of life or serious injury are real things, don’t generally bitch about it nearly as much as I would.

      This line of convoluted thought led me to the current trend in the first world nations commonly called First World Problems (FWP’s).

      For moderately hale and hearty geezers, health and wellbeing are things in which we are keenly interested.  But who in the First World is riveted by FWP’s?

      It would seem an uncomfortable number of people.

      In the industrialized world it is possible to hear someone say, “My life is as good as over!  After I left Starbuck’s with my double cupped, venti one pump caramel, one pump white mocha two scoops vanilla bean powder, extra ice frappuchino with two shots poured over the top (apagotto style) with caramel drizzle under and on top of the whipped cream, double cupped, I stumbled over a bump in the sidewalk and the little kitten the Barista had painted on my coffee got ruined!”

      I think you will agree, this is a tragedy in any world. 

      By the way, if you know what a double cupped, venti one pump caramel, one pump white mocha whatever is, there is probably a thirteen-step program with your name all over it.  Believe me, that extra step is necessary, do don’t skip it or we will all know.

{Feel free to castigate me roundly for my debilitating un-hipness Re: coffee, in the comments section below.}

      In the first world it is possible to here:

    “My diamond earring keeps scratching my iPhone 6.  Each new scratch makes me cry.  Will this never end??!!”

    “I toasted my bagel before I realized I was out of butter.  I had to use margarine.  Margarine!”

☞     “I put my earbuds in my pocket for just a minute and now they are all tangled.  I don’t understand how this keeps happening to me.  How much longer can I take it before I snap!”

    “This software update requires me to restart my computer.  Requires!  Imagine!”

    “My remote unlock is broken.  I had to unlock the car with a key, for the love of god!  What am I some kind of animal??!!”

    “The shower curtain blows into me when I’m showering and makes me feel yucky.  Seriously, who can I talk to about this.”

      It is all out there boys and girls.  All in living color.

      Believe me, I feel your pain if your problem is, “Do you have any idea how many passwords I have??!!  AND I’m expected to remember all of them!”

      “So what, Ryan, you sly and charming prince?  What does this have to do with me and my über-serious health issues and/or life-threatening dental work??!!”

      Here’s a thought that may help us avoid FWP's - let’s go a week without mentioning our individual disease states.  Just one week.

      You never know, we all might feel better and if we don’t, well, we always have last week’s illness to fall back on. 

      Also, remember, few of us can remember what was said an hour ago, so your health issues will be news to everyone!

      Oh, and leave off with those double cupped, venti one pump caramel, whatever. 

      You’ll live longer.  Maybe.


Just say NO to FWP's