Recently I’ve been seeing more and more of my friends recognize that the problem they’re grappling with is a First World Problem. The local store stopped carrying their favorite brand of jelly, so now they have to add a five mile detour to their drive home from work in order to hit the ethnic grocery store. Their internet connection is getting flaky to the point where they have to reset the modem three times a day. The 3D version of the blockbuster they missed is only showing during the day when they can’t make it.
Yeah, I weep for them. They’re not starving. They’re not locked out in the freezing cold. Soldiers are not marching towards them with murderous intent. These are not the real life and death problems being faced in the developing worlds. We should all be thankful that our daily horrors are limited to jelly, modems, and movie schedules, and for the most part we are.
But it’s still a pain in the ass to go out of my way to get that jelly.
And then the other night I was hit with a problem that was so trivial, I can’t even say that it qualified as a First World Problem. I was already dressed for bed, lying snug beneath the covers, reading a good book… and I was a little hungry. I wanted a Ding Dong, that cream-filled chocolate treat recently revived by the resurrected Hostess. We had some. I keep them in the freezer, because oh, let me tell you, there’s nothing so special as one of those when it’s ice cold.
But… and here’s the entire extent of my problem… they were in the freezer downstairs in the kitchen, not the freezer in the little “dorm fridge” I have in the bedroom. That’s right. No drive across town. No non-negotiable scheduling issues. No armed guards keeping me away from vital sustenance. Nope, I was just too damn lazy to get out of my warm bed, walk downstairs, and get that Ding Dong. Instead, I settled for putting it on my to-do list to bring some upstairs the next morning. After that, I settled for a few York Pieces I did have in the upstairs fridge and made the best of my plight.
Yes, I am ashamed of myself, and I officially apologize to the starving kids hiding from the murder squads in Somalia.
So, the next morning when I got the Ding Dongs out of the kitchen freezer and explained to my wife what I was doing, she said, “So, you’re solving a First World problem?”
I chuckled. “No, I don’t think this even qualifies as a First World problem.”
What it really boiled down to, I suppose, was “Dammit, where is my robot? Where is that tireless android servant science fiction promised me? Is he out joyriding in the flying car I don’t have yet?”
But seriously, is that where we’re headed? Am I going to be telling this story to my great-grandkids, about the trials I faced? “Sure, little Johnny, in my day I had to walk all the way downstairs to get my favorite chocolate treat.”
And he’ll look up at me in confusion, “But grampy-gramps, why didn’t you just ask the hovering replicator to make you one?”
Damn that 2070 generation! When those hovering replicators revolt, those kids won’t even know where to start.