We are the world

It seems like no one is ever happy these days. I think we can blame this on Maslow and his hierarchy of needs, although apparently he never depicted his theories in pyramid form. But I digress. Maslow theorized there are basic and essential needs that must be met before we can turn our attention to more esoteric things like self-actualization. Until we are fed, clothed and housed we can’t think of anything else. Then we need to be confident we won’t lose our hard fought corner of dirt before we can begin to form lasting social relationships (Israel and Palestine anyone?). Once we have peeps to hang out with, we can start to turn our attention to competence and mastery of some skill and yes, status seeking.

I think, though, what’s gone wrong is that Maslow never anticipated what would happen when people and societies started to zoom up his pyramid in record time. What happens is preoccupation with first world problems like whether to build subways or LRTs. This is such a huge problem that I doubt it can possibly be solved within my lifetime and certainly not before I will be entitled to a discounted transit pass. In Toronto, several iterations of local government have decided and undecided what to do so many times that we could have been crisscrossed with subways and LRTs several times over by now. It seems the essence of the dilemma is that subways are expensive and slow to build and LRTs are cheaper and faster to build, which wouldn’t seem like much of a dilemma to most of us. But of course we are in the first world where we view the issue a little differently. Subways are a hallmark of ‘world class-ness’. Subways zip under the ground, leaving the cars full reign of the streets. And of course the people who are in the position to potentially maybe possibly decide to get on with building transit of some description don’t actually use it.

And if you need more examples of first world problems you need go no further than the ads you see every day. For example, did you know you can buy a winter cover for your plastic outdoor storage box (you know, the one you use to store your outdoor living room and probably your outdoor kitchen accessories, which are different than your backyard pool accessories – of course those go in the pool house or in the cabana). And speaking of winter, when you go shopping for replacements for the gloves you bought last year (this year’s black is a little more indigo than last year’s, which had touch more magenta) make sure you buy a pair that is certified as ‘touch screen’ compatible or you will be perpetually freezing your fingers off while tapping out that important text (OMG its soooooo cold!!!!!!!).

But perhaps the most epic of first world problems that has come to my attention lately is the one that has been recently solved by Vitamix. As its website attests, “Vitamix is one of the most trusted brands in high performance blending technology”. Vitamix’s claim to fame is that its two horsepower engine could do double duty as both your lawnmower and leaf blower. It is indeed a ‘luxury’ blender, starting at only $499. As you can imagine, a Vitamix blender has some heft to it – eleven pounds to be exact. It also takes up a fair amount of real estate on the kitchen counter, and anything that big is capable of churning out kale smoothies by the truck load. Fortunately, the folks at Vitamix have felt our pain. The new ‘personal’ Vitamix tops in at 15 inches high to fit under our kitchen cabinets! The new ‘personal’ Vitamix can blend a single (20 oz or close to 600 millilitres) serving in a portable container! And if that doesn’t meet your need for food, belonging and self-esteem all for the introductory offer of $409 (plus shipping, handling, lifetime warranty and recipe book), I don’t know what will.

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