Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Problems? What problems?

I ran across a story the other day about a guy who lost his composure in the middle of a cross country flight. Was it because he became claustrophobic? Was he freaked out by the whispering middle eastern-looking couple across the aisle? Did he see snakes on the plane? No, no. His internet connection was not only outrageously expensive, but way too slow and unreliable.

Let that sink in for a moment. The man was sitting in a chair in the sky, hurtling to his cross country destination at 600 miles per hour in a climate controlled cabin, sipping hot coffee...incredulous that the miracle of an invention that didn't even exist twenty five years ago was not cheep and perfectly functional at 30,000 feet.

Conclusion? 21st century men are chumps.

As a disclaimer for what follows, I should point out that I speak as a 58 year old middle/upper middle class man in the United States of America, in reasonably good health and of reasonably sound mind.
But, honestly, when I look around this great big world today and consider all of the problems we're dealing with, I think...what problems? Consider...

1. The year I was married (1984 ) the Dow Jones Industrials was at 1200. Today it stands at 17,500, an astounding return on investment. But let the market drop 600 lousy points because of Brexit and we wail and moan, don our sack cloth and sit in ashes all day!

2. Billion dollar industries exist to sell us stuff to do with our leisure time, when 300 years ago, there wasn't even a word for "leisure time" because nobody had any.

3. Californians complain about the horrible traffic in and around Los Angeles. They do so inside the climate controlled interiors of automobiles equipped with more powerful computers than IBM had forty years ago. The average price of these vehicles clogging LA's freeways would make their owners the richest person within a hundred square miles of over half the land mass of the world.

4. Every night on television, somebody is trying to sell me some new medicine (ask your doctor if expressia is right for you!) to rid me of some ailment I didn't even know was a thing. Discolored toenails? A mere 100 years ago the number one cause of death was diarrhea, the cure for which now costs four bucks and tastes and looks like bubblegum.

5. Today's college students need safe spaces to run to whenever they hear disagreeable speech that offends their fragile world views. Their grandfathers at their age were scrambling for safe spaces from incoming mortar fire in some god-forsaken jungle in the South Pacific. Their grandmothers were assembling tanks in some factory somewhere for ten hours a day, seven days a week. Their great grandparents were probably hungry most of the time.

6. While the developing world's population is exploding, here in the west...the most sex saturated civilization in history, men need the assistance of little blue pills to obtain an erection. So much so that the company that developed Viagra...Pfizer, rakes in nearly 2 billion a year in revenue from it's sale.

Listen, I'm not trying to suggest that we don't have problems today. Sure, there are still bad things happening around the world and here at home. There is still injustice, racism is still with us, and even in the most prosperous nation in the world there are people who don't have enough to eat. But, in the grand scheme of the universe, our problems seem lame when compared to the daily life struggles of even our most recent ancestors. A little perspective and gratitude for our amazing luck at being alive in the year 2016 would seem to be in order.