First world problems

There’s a truism that gets updated for every generation, that runs roughly like this: Nobody wants to hear your bad beat story.

This rule even applies to Paul McCartney, though he tries his best in “Junior’s Farm” –

You should have seen me with the poker man
I had a honey and I bet a grand
Just in the nick of time, I looked at his hand

Even this isn’t a “bad beat,” since it’s obvious he dodged the worst of it; this makes him bold enough to share the story TWICE, the first to launch the song, and the second in response to an “old man” who asks him why the prices for groceries are higher.  That’s real 1% behavior for you – poor guy’s griping about feeding himself on a fixed income in the poor economy of 1974, and Macca blows him off with an anecdote about high-stakes gambling.  So it turns out that Sir Paul came within a rollicking beat of inventing “first world problems” AND the Occupy Movement.  Silly love songs, indeed.  No wonder Lennon was annoyed with him.

But this just goes to show that there are certain things that people just can’t wait for you to not gripe about – they’re dying inside to be spared the sorry tales of uninteresting struggles with the barest of inconveniences and personal hobbies.  My hockey buddies and I can spend ten minutes talking about ten seconds of a game we’ve just watched, and if we were playing, we’ll go a half-hour.  (Our games in full only last 44 minutes.)  Very few of those stories make it onto this blog, however.  I mean, we’re aging homebodies who who play hockey on foot with an orange ball.  There’s a reason you don’t see the highlights on the news.

If an incident makes a larger point,though, I’ll mention it, and that’s why this post from Andrea about “not missing my show” spurs me on here.  It’s not only a First World Problem but a cultural change that looks to be going full-circle even within a few decades: “can’t miss tv” went from the networks’ schedule to ours, and is going back to theirs again – but for entirely different reasons.  As a couple of her commenters point out, if you save it for later, you miss the fun of chatting about it immediately.  The traditional water cooler chat has moved online.

Then, of course, we tied ourselves to a TV schedule because if we missed something, it was likely gone for years.  VCRs took some of the sting from that, as did the resulting proliferation of movies (and eventually TV shows) that one could own copies of.  Eventually we valued the convenience of our own timetables and no commercials.  With the internet and social media being so much more immedaite, though, it’s much harder to dodge spoilers.  It would be completely impossible now to do the twist of The Empire Strikes Back, for example – or even the twist of The Sixth Sense.  Even if you check YouTube or seomthing later for the clips, it’s not the same as immediately bonding over an episode with others who love the show.  We’re going right back to the old paradigm, but for an amalgam of reasons that the slower pace of 70’s life sent at us one at a time.

This leads to another first-world problem:  DVRs can record two shows at once, but if you are currently watching the TV, you are limited to watching one of those two, or else a previously-recorded show.  If you were watching something while recording it for a family member, for example, you’d be stuck watching it twice.  But on occasion my wife and I run into another difficulty: she’s got two shows she loves, so she has them recording, and I wind up missing the bulk of the hockey game I’ve hoped to see.  I can’t watch it then and there, and if I’m at the rink in one of my own games, I can’t watch it later either.

Oh, and one other first-world problem, relevant here both on the general topic and because of Andrea’s habit of weekly site overhauls.

Besides reading Andrea for her content, I use her regular design changes as cheap research.  Her aesthetic sense is quite different and I get ideas that I probably would miss otherwise.  For example, I’m currently looking for a replacement font for headers, since the one I just chose seems to enjoy sticking random hyphens in my post titles – but not in my sidebar headers, even though it’s the same font.  I wonder if it’s something to do with the permalinks, which use the hyphens instead of blank spaces.  Pity.  I like the look of it otherwise.


2 thoughts on “First world problems

  1. Andrea Harris February 2, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    Fonts! They’ll be the death of us all. A First World sort of death. (“How did she die?” “Aneurysm caused by frustration at not finding the perfect font for her website.”)

    • nightfly February 2, 2012 at 4:38 pm

      I know! Sometimes I feel like a lesser Batman villain from the old TV show – Typeface – terrorizing Gotham by running around correcting grammar in signs and advertisements, setting traps based on the difference between serif and non-serif fonts. Then they’ll defeat me when I stop in the middle of the fight scene to admire the great typography of the “OOOOF” and “BLAMMO” word overlays.

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