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The fact that such a huge percentage of our nation is composed of literate people who have leisure time to contemplate the question seems to indicate that our suffering and tragedies are minor compared to those of most of the rest of the world.

True.  I was having dinner a few months back with a friend of mine who's a foreign policy analyst at the Cato Institute.  She told me about this concept called a "First World Problem".

Example:  This afternoon, I have to go to the dentist to get a cavity filled, which sucks.  The cavity is on one of my wisdom teeth, which sucks even more because it will be difficult for the dentist to get to.  I'm preparing for this by getting ready to take my sedatives before I see the dentist, bringing my iPod Touch with me so I can listen to Steve Roach's "Quiet Music 2" while the dentist is working, scheduling my meals so that I'll be able to work my mealtimes around the dental work, and so on.  (I even gave a lot of thought as to which clothes to wear today so I would be as comfortable as possible.)

This is a First World Problem, for reasons that are pretty obvious once the notion occurs to you.  One cavity, which I'm able to have properly taken care of (with money out of my own pocket), with paid time off from work, after having had enough to eat, with soothing music I can listen to and sedatives I can take to help me relax, blah blah blah blah blah.  I haven't ever actually looked into it, but I'd bet a year's pay that there are many millions of people in the world who have never seen a dentist at all or who can't afford to see one.  Ditto for MP3 players and, of course, having enough to eat.
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Quesi First world problems May 22, 2013, 10:51:48 AM