The Chronic Complainer

Or, How I Hate When People Complain About Stupid Things.

I often say to any one that wants to hear, that Canadians complain way too much. Too my third-world-raised mind, it is annoying and unbelievable selfish to say the least. However, I am not the only one to think so. It is a well known joke that the Canadian National past time is to complain. And to be offended. Complaining and being offended go hand in hand.

Two things identify Canadian people. They complain all day long and they say I”m sorry even if it was your fault. You step on their toes? They say, oh, I’m sorry. For more on this watch 12 Ways to Say I’m Sorry and then read How To Be Canadian by Ian & Will Ferguson. Excellent book. I promise you’ll be peeing your pants laughing from front to back. It is that good.

But! The lady doth protest too much, methinks. And by “the lady” I mean the whole so-called first world.

To be fair, I’ll say that in a way, complaining is a good thing. High life standards is something we should all aim for. High life standards should be the status quo. But for everybody. Not just for the first world countries.

Problem is, one you get all the nice things, you start complaining about stupid things. Why? because people that have been born into a world where all the basic needs are covered, they take them for granted and they feel entitled.

Take a person/family from the so called third world and transplant them to a first world country. Given them a minimum wage job, universal health care, enough food to feel their bellies and a nice enough place to live and they’ll be forever grateful. They will feel immensely rich and immensely lucky . They will even manage to save money to send to  the rest of the family that id still in their home land.

Give a person born in that very country the exact same things, and they’ll feel like third class citizens. They will complain that their place is to small, or too ugly, that their job sucks, that the health care sucks (because they had to wait 7 hours at the ER that one day they got drunk and fell while walking home) and they’ll spend much of their waking hours dreaming of winning the lottery and escaping to an island in the Caribbean where all they’ll do is sip mojitos all day and lay in the sun.

It’s funny, most people here think of the Tropics as Eden. But the tropics -most often than not, mean third wold. Where the water is unsafe to drink. Where the government is corrupt. Where there is a lot of crime. Where people are starving to death. Not the proverbial first world starving. They are “literally” (a favourite first world word) dying of it.  Where the heat brings malaria, and hemorrhagic dengue, and yellow fever.  Chagas and parasitic infections. Where there is no health coverage but there is lots of illiteracy.

So you know what I say, let them.

In fact, I am also saying, for all who care to listen, that every single first world person should be made to spend ONE year, just one year, of their lives in a third world country living with in the exact same conditions as the poorer of the poor. Somewhere in a remote village where there is not doctors, no tv, no internet, no cell phones, no electricity and no potable water.

Let’s see how they fare.

And then, after the year, they can come back to their nice first world places, their nice boring jobs, their access to good health care (even if they have to pay for it), their safe cities with low crime (when compared to that of third world countries)  and still complain about how their lives suck.

And now, just for gags, do a search for #firstworldproblems and/or #FML and see all the ridiculous things first world people complain about.

Me, I have no job. I have no car. I have very little to no disposable income and I consider myself one of the luckiest gals in the whole world!



15 thoughts on “The Chronic Complainer

  1. Rose says:

    Love this! My uncle has lived in Canada most of his life and has fully adopted all things Canadian, including what you mention in your post. I find myself surrounded (here in the US, in Kansas) with people complaining about 1st world problems. I often will point it out, “ya know, that there is a 1st world problem.” I find it hilarious, but most people either don’t get it or don’t think it’s funny. I’m on Twitter, so I should go look up some of the above mentioned hash tags. I’d probably get a real kick out of it! Great post!

  2. Laura P. Schulman, MD, MA says:

    Great post, and que foto lindo precioso!!!! Uh, my brain thinks in Hebrew, so if I got that sort of wrong I’m sorry…hehehe!!! Israel is sort of stuck between being third and first world. And if you think Canadians complain…hah! Try English speakers in Israel! Everything from lousy TV to waiting times at the bank (you have to take a number at the bank, otherwise there would be riots. There actually WERE riots, and that’s why you have to take a number now. There is currently a polio epidemic going on, largely because of the huge wave of African refugees that we have given refuge to. Unfortunately, they were under the thumb of a ruler who forbade vaccination, and now look…but if you have ever been in an Israeli public toilet you will say, where the heck am I anyway? No toilet seat, no paper, no water…) But yes, tropical diseases are terrifying. A fascinating thing to study and specialize in, but a horrible thing to see or get. I got ciguatera poisoning in Puerto Rico and was blind for about a week and sick for six months after that. They initially thought it was dengue but thank God it turned out to be bad, but less bad.

    • Summer Solstice Girl says:

      Oh no! That is terrible! So sorry to hear about the polio epidemic. And about your poisoning :(

      hehe but I do get your point. I am sure I have done my fair share of complaining about stupid things when I was younger. And even now, sometimes I catch myself thinking FML and then I am disgusted at myself for thinking it.

      I don’t want perfection. I am not asking for a perfect world. But I would love to see a lot less selfishness, and a lot more common sense, that’s for sure :)

  3. Ruby Tuesday says:

    I will just say one thing, no intent to hurt feelings. It is also a great deal about misconceptions and generalizations. The only reason I say it is because if I could pick one thing, if I were only allowed ONE that I summarizes what I dislike most about human beings, it is our tendency to lose sight of the fact that each and every one of us is an individual, even within our respective greater groups.

    Maybe it’s the product of being the grandchild of two very blue collar families and two hippie parents who were somehow still good Catholics, and an enormous extended family with so much diversity — firemen, astrophysicists, musicians, financiers, homemakers, artists, contractors — who all came together to teach me the same thing. In the final analysis, it doesn’t matter what you are, but who you are.

    Or maybe it just comes down to generalizations scaring me, any and all generalizations. I spent a week up in Canada last year. An acquaintance of the person I was there to see made reference to the fact that a client was late, but then they were running on “CP, or colored people time. They’re always about 15 or 20 minutes slow.”

    My jaw split in two it hit the floor so hard. Looked to my friend, surely, not something this outspoken person would tolerate. Friend just laughed. I walked outside and started sucking air. And I’ll probably be ashamed of that fact, that I didn’t speak my horror, until I die.

    I choose to think of that incident as an aberration, not representative of Canada. Perhaps you think about it next time you have the “polite Canadian” stereotype come to mind. Really, that’s one of the dangers in generalizations — the scary things can be so easily concealed — to say nothing of the disservice it does to all the wonderful people who are out there actively recognizing and trying to break that “first world mold”, and trying to live lives of service, be it by helping the third world or those so lost in their own backyard.

    • Summer Solstice Girl says:

      I am afraid I don`t follow Ruby… are you saying that in writing this post I did a disservice to all the wonderful people that are not complainers?

      I am fully aware of the problems of generalization in terms of always, never, everybody, nobody. I suppose I can add a disclaimer stating that I know there are some people who don’t fit the “first world mold” but I thought it was a given and that it would be obvious that I don’t think that absolutely everybody in first world countries behaves exactly the same. I am way smarter than that. And from all the great feedback I am getting from Canadian and American friends about this post (unfortunately on FB so you can’ see them) I can tell that they thought so as well.

      Dunno. like I said, I really have no idea what you were trying to say there

  4. Cate Reddell says:

    I think I agree with you but disagree at the same time, but it’s a good topic for discussion. The first world/third world issue is so real but I’m not sure whether it really can be solved. We could send evyone to a third world country for a year ( although I’m not sure it would be fair on the third world people. But the big problem I see is that they get to come home at the end of the year. It would give people a taste but I think you have to be ina situation year in year out to be able to have it make lasting change.

    The other day I saw someone tweeting about how her Starbucks had run out of ice. My immediate thought was “first world problem”. I know for a fact that she grew up in a third world country and had been back there recently, yet no ice in her frappe was wrecking her day. We forget too easily, no matter who we are and where we come from.

    I guess the other thing I w thinking while reading your post is that who decides what is stupid? Just because I find something important to me that I complain about, but you don’t find it important, does that mean my complaint is stupid? And vice versa obviously. I think somehow that we are all going to complain about things that don’t matte to others. Does that matter? I’m not sure. I suspect you’re not ever going to get the degree of human contentment that you wish for. Nice idea though.

    • Summer Solstice Girl says:

      Oh well, yeah. My “solution” is absolutely ludicrous in the sense that it is impossible to execute.

      And I guess that people do forget too easily, which is sad in a way but it is also part of the human condition. And in a way, I guess it is a good thing because it is what allows human beings to be resilient and to go on on living despite their bad experiences.

      Me, on the other hand, I don’t forget anything. I never forget those who are suffering. I will never forget the pain on the face of the mother who just lost her third child to starvation. I will never forget the hopeless eyes of those marginalized and displaced by civil war. And I will never forget how a kind word, a little of your time, can make such a difference in someone’s life. How maybe forgoing lunch (a terrible inconvenience for some) in order to have the time to explain to the the worried family of a very sick patient what is happening and what can be expected can be such a happy thing. When you see gratitude in their faces and surprise because someone finally took the time to make them feel their feelings mattered too, that they were not invisible.

      No, all those memories are deeply carved in my soul and I will never forget. Because forgetting is allowing their pain to become unimportant.

      So I guess that I have self-appointed myself to deem stupid anything and everything that is merely an inconvenience as seeing through the lens of a first world eye. Judgmental much? Maybe. And maybe at the end of time I shall be held accountable for passing judgement too and I’ll have to do my time. But I can’t and I won’t tolerate the selfish complaints of those who have been born with everything when the cries of so many others are still so fresh in my ears.

      So I’m sorry if you think I am being too harsh but that’s who I am. And I’ll guess we’ll have to agree to disagree.

      But you are absolutely right about one thing: I am constantly complaining about things that don’t matter to others. Every day, I complain about at least three or four different things. And every day, others get annoyed by my complaints. So in the end, I am just a complainer like everybody else

  5. Sid Dunnebacke says:

    I frankly agree with you, C. Similar to the first world/third world contrast is that of our generation/the generation of world wars and depression. Sorry, The depression. That generation suffered, knew somewhat what hardship was, and far less often took things for granted. Butter rationing and the like made them appreciate what they had. Our generation? We’re entitled, as I know you agree.

    I hear people say they thank God that they have a home, a job, are healthy, are successful, etc. I scoff my head off at them. That insinuates that God chose them specifically for a relatively good life, and what follows from that is that God also selected those living in third world poverty and disease for that life. I can’t live with that. Dunno what the answer to that really is, though.

    Anyway, spot on with everything you said here.

    • Summer Solstice Girl says:

      Butter rationing???!!!! Now, THAT’S a scary thought! And you know I am not even joking!

      But on the big scale of things, I would still be happy and grateful here, even if I didn’t have butter. But yeah, there is a considerable difference in the way that generation behaved after the wars and the depression era and how younger generations behave with such entitlement. Sad.

      And I agree with you about the god thing. I know you and I don’t mean any disrespect to religious people but it does carry the underlying implication that somehow those who suffer are deserving of it. I don’t believe for one second that there is always a reason for the bad things.

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