It’s official. We are a nation of whiners. I’m sick to death of it. Remember Doug and Wendy Whiner from the old SNL sketches? They have nothing on 21st century Americans.
Last week, our region “endured” a few days of power outage. You would have thought it was Armeggedon. No cable? No internet? God help us. We’re in hell. How will we ever survive?
Yes, some lost heat. Temperatures dropped to an “unbearable” 50 degrees in some homes. I got news for ya, friends. In Haiti, a large percentage of the population has endured nearly two years of homelessness, cholera, and deprivation on a massive scale since the January 2010 earthquake. And that’s not including the several hundred years of violence, corruption, starvation, oppression, injustice, slavery, torture, disease, and more, much of it at the hands of – guess who – Whiner Nation.
Gratitude is the enemy, indeed the cure, for whining and misery in general. I’ve seen it first hand in Haiti. I’ve heard similar stories from those who have been to underdeveloped nations such as Kenya and Peru, among others. It seems that the less we have, the more we are thankful. Conversely, the more we have, the more we expect, and thus the more whiny we are.
Fact#1: This is the most prosperous, safe, free society in the history of the world.
Fact#2: We are still miserable, wretched, unhappy, disgruntled, complaining, whining.
How can that be? It defies all logic. The more we have, the more we want. Strike that. The more we think we need. And that might be the secret. We think we need what we are told we need.
Those defining what we need – the marketing organizations of massive multinational corporations – have billions of dollars and hundreds of experts in psychological manipulation at their disposal. The more of their messages we expose ourselves to, the more we are programmed, out of control of our own will, at the mercy of those whose only interest is in extracting our money from us.
News flash: We don’t need iPads, iPods, cell phones, cable TV, decorated fingernails, jacked bodies, unwrinkled brows, vacations in Europe, wide-screen TV’s, twelve pairs of shoes, vehicles the size of cruise ships, cruise ships, vacation homes, 12 room homes, perfect lawns, perfect buns, multi-million dollar churches, super-high-speed internet, season tickets, central air conditioning, snowmobiles, swimming pools, crystal, gourmet meals, Blu-ray, bluetooth, Coca-Cola, Starbucks, or 99% of everything else we have staked our lives on.
Don’t get me wrong. There is not necessarily anything wrong with the things on that list (although there might be). In fact, I have many of them myself. They serve as distractions, which can be a very good thing in a stressful world. But they are not necessities, they are all luxuries. If we lose any of them, our lives are not destroyed. We are barely even inconvenienced. We have to keep all of this in perspective.
Here are some of the necessities: Food, shelter, companionship, health, love, meaningful work. If you have any of them, thank God. Every day. If any of them is missing, I’ll be the first to defend your right to whine. But I’m more than tired of people complaining about losing things (1) that they don’t need, (2) that they have no right to, (3) that didn’t exist a generation ago, and (4) that 90% of the rest of the world can’t even dream of having.