My daughter and I recently went to see Trevor Noah, the host of The Daily Show, do his stand up routine at The Wilbur in Boston, MA. We are hooked on his show so we were so excited to be there. He is a half-African, half-German from South Africa. He’s a super interesting person and also very intelligent and hilarious. I recently read his autobiography and it was fascinating.
About half way through the show he was talking about what it was like when he first moved to the U.S. He said he was getting ready to go out for take-out for dinner when his roommate said “Dude, I’m Starving”. He laughed and said “No no no……. you’re aren’t starving my friend, you’re hungry”. Growing up in South Africa in hard times, he knew what “starving” really was, and his friend was not experiencing it.
I find that we (Americans) tend to be overly dramatic, un-self-aware and lack a true gauge on suffering…. in many cases. Dude I’m Staaaaaarving…. I haven’t eaten since my pancake breakfast at Burger King for $2.99 this morning I might die if I don’t eat. Eye Roll.
“I’m having the worst day… ever”. Are you? Is having hard meetings at your white collar job and maybe missing lunch or having a cold at the same time the worst day ever? If it is, I would like to transport into your life immediately because my worst day ever looks like Dante’s 5th Circle of Hell compared to your worst day ever.
Don’t be confused, this is not a post about “snowflakes”. This is about conservatives, liberals, tea party, green party, catholics, jews, anyone…. this is for people who’ve lost self awareness and have adapted to this American sense of self-entitlement that is my official #1 pet peeve.
I need an SUV. I need 2 bathrooms. I need a bigger kitchen. I need high speed internet. Seriously? You NEED 2 bathrooms? I grew up in an environment with 1 bathroom and countless people in and out of the house and somehow we managed to survive! #NeverForget You want an SUV. You want 2 bathrooms. You want a bigger kitchen. That makes sense. Reach way back in time and think about your grandparents and parents… and think about need versus want.
My daughter recently told me that she needs a new backpack because hers had a stain on it. She also needs a new lunchbox because hers broke… but her sister’s old one was at home. Did she NEED a new one? or did she want one that wasn’t her sister’s old one. Duh, we know. Could I get her a new lunch box? Of course. Did I? Of course not. I consider it my responsibility to train her to understand want versus need so she doesn’t grow up to be one of these people that drives me up a tree with the “need” …. ahhhhhhhhh.
Let’s move on to my favorite un-self-aware statement…. “I’m broke”. The last person who said this to me has a house they bought in 1999 that is nearly paid off with a monthly payment of $850/month and they are about to pay off their mortgage. It’s safe to say they have about $350K in equity in this house. i.e. At any time they can sell this house and make $350K. Guys… no. They also have a 401K with about 850K in it and enough money to pay their bills. That said they have 10K in credit card debt because they like to go out to dinner, play golf and have nice clothes. I’m not judging… you do what you need to do it’s not my problem. BUT someone who had 350K home equity and 850K in a 401K is not “broke”.
Do you know what “broke” looks like? “Broke” looks like going without lunch for 3 years so you can pay for your daughter’s after school program. “Broke” looks like stealing underwear from KMart. “Broke” looks like working at places that sell or serve food so you can skim (aka find a way to get some of that food for yourself). “Broke” looks like selling blood plasma for pasta money. “Broke” looks like mixing orange juice with water to make it last longer. “Broke” looks like stealing because you have no other choice. “Broke” looks like going without medication so your kids can have school supplies. If none of this sounds like you, stop saying you’re broke. It’s like a man saying they understand how it feels to be a woman or a regular citizen saying they know what it’s like to be in the military. Just stop. I know, I know, the word broke in itself is not the insult…. but just stop the conversation. You wouldn’t tell someone with diabetes you were just as sick as them if you had a cold… that’s what this is like. Please stop.
Is this what every person born into the working class who ends up working in a white collar environment has to deal with? Maybe. I spend a great deal of time pretending that I can relate to the horrors of white collar life, when secretly inside I’m thinking… this person is weak…. or this person is an idiot…. or this person has no idea about real life. Some of them could probably step up if needed, but you just can’t ever know. #RedneckPolice Am I also being a dick? I have no idea. I probably am. I can be “a bit much” as it were. But that’s ok. This is my fucking blog so… there you have it. I think people who haven’t suffered are weak, as a default. Can you blame me? Probably… I’ve heard I can be a bit much. I’m also on my 4th jager, obviously. But you already knew that.
One of the most common phrases that I suggest people avoid is “Nothing was ever handed to me”. This is legitimately true for some people. But it’s very rare. VERY rare. Did your parents pay for college? Did they help you pay for college? Then THAT was handed to you, ok? Did someone help you with your security deposit on your apartment? Your deposit on your home? THAT is something that was handed to you. There’s nothing wrong with taking it. I hope I can “hand” my children these types of things. But accepting these things excludes you from saying that nothing was ever handed to you. Has your parent/friend given you a recommendation or the name of someone to get your foot in the door somewhere? THAT is something that was handed to you. Yes we get it you are a super hard worker and you are amazing, but you’ve had things handed to you. If you can admit that, you’re on your way to self awareness.
Saying “nothing was ever handed to me” seems innocent enough right? But saying this is insulting and to anyone who really hasn’t had anything handed to them. There are millions of people on earth who literally have nothing handed to them. They have to start from scratch, or beyond scratch, and fight against all odds to even be in the same room as you or in the same country or in the same meeting. If you had anything handed to you, please stop saying you didn’t, or that you had to work for everything you have.
Say you understand what it’s like to be in the military but you’ve never served? My friend E-GF would like 5 minutes alone with you in a closed room. Trust me, after that you will then gain a full understanding of the difference between you and someone who has served active duty in the military. Nothing compares to being on active duty other than being on active duty.
Say you understand what it’s like to have cancer because your xyz had cancer at some point? You don’t, my friend James would like to speak to you. No, You don’t know. Neither do I.
Oh you can relate to what Muslims in America are going through because someone you know was once an immigrant who is now totally ok? My grandparents and my father dealt with “Italians need not apply”. That was horrible. But a: that was not me it was them. b: It was not the same as religious persecutions. c: Muslims face something we can’t possibly understand unless you are one. If you’re not, shut it.
So…. I was going to write a blog today about some crazy/funny/intresting/depressing/real travel stories because I’m doing more business travel now than ever. But I have so much upcoming travel that I’m afraid I’ll publish and then my next trip will have the best story ever. So I’m going to try my best to wait until the end of the year to post that one.
In the meantime, you get this random rant about me being sick of people who think they are suffering but they aren’t. OR is this a post about me being unsympathetic to people’s perception of their own suffering? Is it me being a dick thinking my suffering makes me more aware than those who haven’t suffered? Probably the latter, but fuck it. This is who I am. And this is my blog so….
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I’m adding the following meme for no reason other than the fact that I love it so much and jager: