6 Are you worried? Suffer from chronic anxiety? Are you too pooped to pop as Lucy Ricardo said in her Vitameatavegamins commercial? To quote our old friend, William Wordsworth: “The world is too much with us; late and soon/ Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers.”

Has buying stuff from China lost its charm? Have you run out of PPP money the feds shoveled out the door during the bad Rona times? Has your ability to change the world powered down? Tired of worrying about big issues you can do nothing about? How about worrying about a small problem that you can do something about? Wouldn’t that be a pleasant change from concerns about Putin? Step right up and keep reading. Today we explore the wonderland of First World Problems.

First World Problems do not involve big things like starvation, wars and rumors of wars, or the curious rise of neighborhood Fascism. Nope, First World Problems are minor annoyances that only people at the top of Maslow’s Hierarchy would notice. First World Problems are so minor they don’t even register unless a TV commercial brings them to your attention. Then they can sell you a solution for a problem Big Pharma invented.
Can you recall Hans Christian Andersen’s story of “The Princess and the Pea”? Allow me to mansplain it to you. Princess Karen had a First World Problem — extreme sensitivity to tiny irritants. Like Edgar Allen Poe’s character Annabel Lee, Karen lived “many and many a year ago in a Kingdom by the Sea.” But Karen wasn’t always a princess. She started out as a shivering rain-drenched traveler on a muddy road. Her extreme sensitivity led her to becoming a princess.

Once upon a time there was a prince who needed a wife. He looked far and wide in the kingdom to find a suitable bride. Unfortunately, his Mamma got to decide who the prince would marry. Mamma decreed that the prince could only marry a real princess. When the prince would bring home a maiden to meet the family, Mamma always found something wrong with his date. The date talked too much, ate too much, table manners were bad, wasn’t pretty enough. You get the picture; Mamma was a pill. No woman was going to be good enough for her little boy.

The prince was getting pretty frustrated at the revolving rejections. Then one dark and stormy night, came a knock on the castle door. This was before Ring doorbells with cameras were invented, so the prince answered the door himself. There stood Karen, a bedraggled soaking wet maiden seeking shelter from the storm. Karen claimed to be a princess but she looked more like a peasant. Word was out in the kingdom that the prince was looking for a wife. Lots of fake princesses showed up at the castle door hoping to snag the prince into the coils of matrimony.

To weed out fake princesses, Mamma had a test. It is well known that a real princess would be extremely delicate and hyper sensitive to everything. Karen was sent to a chamber where 20 mattresses and 20 quilts were piled upon a bed. Underneath the bottom mattress Mamma placed a single pea. The next morning Mamma asked how Karen had slept. Karen complained she had not slept all night because something in the bed had hurt her back leaving her bruised. This proved Karen was the real deal as only a real princess could be so sensitive. Karen and the handsome prince were married. They lived happily ever after, remaining friends even after their divorce.

Fast forward to Now. According to TV commercials there is a wide spread problem with the silent tragedy of toe fungus in America. Toe fungus is a major First World Problem. News shows are replete with commercials for products to fight and cure toe fungus. A person with toe fungus is shamed and outcast from polite society. There are numerous potions out there ready, willing, and able to cure your toe fungus so you can be returned to society. One cure features a cute little cartoon toe fungus gremlin who climbs under your big toe nail. He laughs maniacally while he messes you up. The ads are intentionally disgusting. They highlight the gruesome ravages of toe fungus which can infect your entire family unless you buy their product. The message is you are a lousy human being if you don’t purchase their Toe Fungicide.

I prefer Mark Twain’s cure for warts which should also work on toe fungus. Tom Sawyer used spunk water from a rotten tree stump and a bean. Tom says cut your wart to get some blood to put it on the bean. Bury the bean at a crossroads at midnight in the dark of the moon. Chant “Down bean. Off wart; come no more to bother me.” Huck Finn’s cure for warts involved a dead cat. Take the dead cat to a graveyard. The Devil will come to the graveyard to get the body of a newly buried wicked man around midnight. “Then heave your cat after ‘em and say: ‘Devil follow corpse, cat follow devil, warts follow cat, I’m done with ye!’”

Huzzah! Warts and toe fungus are gone. A First World Problem solved without Big Pharma.

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