Sunday, February 5, 2017

Champagne Problems

     Did you ever hear a person complain about some issue in their life, and think to yourself: Boy, I wish I had that problem?

     That's a champagne problem, a term I ran across in a recent book (although I can't remember which one . . . perhaps in a senior moment, which may in itself be a champagne problem).

     The urban dictionary defines a champagne problem as a "trivial middle-class grievance," or a problem that is insignificant compared to the issues of poverty, racism and natural disaster, yet a problem that needs to be addressed nevertheless.

     For example, maybe you sold your house, or received a windfall of some kind, and you have a lot of money. But what do you do with it? You can put it in the bank and get virtually no interest, or you can invest in the stock market at all-time highs and risk losing some of it. A champagne problem. But a problem nonetheless.

     Or, another way to put it, it's a problem where you have to make a decision, and either way the outcome is positive. The kid who gets in to both Stanford and UC Berkeley. Tough decision; but you know the kid is going to be fine either way.

     It's the opposite of a Sophie's choice, where you're between a rock and a hard place (from the William Styron book in which Sophie had to choose between her children). And it's different from a Hobson's choice, where you're forced to take it or leave it (from Thomas Hobson who ran a stable in England and offered customers the choice of taking the horse in the stall nearest the door or taking none at all).

     Actually, there's a 2016 Meghan Trainor song Champagne Problems that  details some of these issues -- ones perhaps suffered more by Millennials than people our age, like the wi-fi doesn't work, the Uber is late and the iPhone dies.

     So where am I going with this? I got champagne problems.

     I went to Florida to get warm for a while. The weather was beautiful. But B couldn't come with me, so I was left on my own. A champagne problem.

     I did meet up with a friend of mine one day, and we played golf. But I played horribly and lost $2. Another champagne problem.

     Now I've traveled up to South Carolina and met up with B. Oh boy, it was great to see her! But yesterday the temperature was in the 40s, and ... we're freezing! Another champagne problem, although it's supposed to be back up in the 70s by Tuesday.

     My other problem: I hurt my knee playing pickleball when I was in Florida. (Don't know pickleball? It's the latest game for seniors, kind of a cross between tennis and Ping Pong -- but that's a subject for another post). So I've been hobbling around for the past week, gobbling Advil during the day and icing my knee at night. A problem, for sure. But it is getting better, and I'm hoping it's good enough by Wednesday so B and I can go dancing. And compared to a lot of people my age who have heart problems or who have had to deal with cancer or diabetes or some other serious condition, my sore knee is nothing but another champagne problem.

     So the temperature here is forecast to reach into the high 60s this afternoon. Do we go to the beach, or not?

     May all the issues in your life not be a Sophie's choice or a Hobson's choice, but simply . . . a champagne problem.

24 comments:

DJan said...

That knee does not sound like a champagne problem to me. But all the rest do! :-)

Wisewebwoman said...

Or put anther way: First World Problems.

We should all be so lucky!

Mind that knee!

XO
WWW

Tabor said...

Yes, I often think of that when I complain, because things could be much worse.

Anonymous said...

"...pickleball? It's the latest game for seniors...."

Strangely enough, I learned to play Pickleball in 1961 in a co-educational physical education class. I, at age 23, was probably the oldest person in the class; but, yes, it was for "seniors" since it was my senior year in undergraduate school.
Cop Car

Celia said...

Walla Walla just turned the tennis courts in the biggest park here into Pickleball courts and I have yet to see anyone over 30 on it. That could be the difference from west coast and east coast. I dunno know.

Savoring Sixty said...

Champagne problems.....very thought provoking phrase to ponder! Thanks for the new vocabulary word!

Stephen Hayes said...

This is the first I've heard of "Champagne problems," an interesting expression. I'm more familiar with the term, "First world problems."

still the lucky few said...

Enjoyed my introduction to a new use for champagne, although I much prefer champagne taste to having any kind of problem, champagne or otherwise!

Jono said...

I've heard of them as first world problems as opposed to third world problems. For example, no WiFi versus no food. I am envious of your heat. Hoping to stay above zero tonight.

Tom Sightings said...

Good point about First World problems, which is a similar concept but a little different. As for pickleball, Celia, everyone I played with was over 60; but after my knee incident, I'm thinking perhaps it IS a better sport for those under 30!

retirementreflections said...

Thanks, Tom. I, too, had only heard of "First World Problems" previously.
You say that the terms have slightly different meetings.

Are "First World Problems"relatively trivial problem or frustration (implying a contrast with serious problems such as those that may be experienced in the developing world)? And "Champagne Problems" problems associated with luxury/expense?

Tom Sightings said...

Well, perhaps we're parsing this term a little more closely than it merits. But the way I see it, you can live in the First World and still experience poverty and racism; you can be well off financially but still be diagnosed with cancer or suffer a terrible accident or lose your house in a hurricane or wildfire. I wouldn't say any of these problems are champagne problems. But we all have little problems throughout our lives that can be annoying or frustrating, that don't really impact our lives, and maybe it can be helpful to remind ourselves that they are just champagne problems, and we shouldn't stress too much about them. Make sense?

Anonymous said...

What is a person to do, we don't get out of this world alive, I suppose some of those champagne problems would be so welcomed by the many with no homes, food, hydration, jobs, etc..not really at all...If one is above the terra firma and breathing and living then I think any problem can have some kind of resolution..Just grateful the weather people were totally wrong about the snow and ice again, in our neck of the woods..Watched the super bowl, it was exciting the last of the game, I knew Tom Brady was not going to go lightly on the whopping he got from Atlanta in the first half, but really it had nothing to contribute to the well being of people who suffer I see at a food pantry weekly and the homeless in our community..It is all in a persons perspective..I am grateful for no snow, rain and ice..plus spring cannot be that far from our place, we have daffys (daffodils) trying to push thru and several of our tiny crocuses pushing thru yippee skippee! all in one's perspective I say!

Anonymous said...

Tom, you make a great point: we should all be very grateful for the many blessings we enjoy. I wish I were as centered, aware and "woke" as you. Thanks!

Kathy @ SMART Living 365.com said...

Hi Tom! Sorry about your knee playing pickleball. Thom and I took it up just last year and are having fun with it--so far. But it is always good to remember that most of our problems and worries are just "champagne" problems. (We have been calling them "high-class problems" for a long time.) It's wise to remember that we have it better off than so many other people here at home AND around the world. I think it is a matter of keeping it all in perspective and enjoying and appreciating life right where we are. Thanks for the good reminder. ~Kathy

schmidleysscribblins.com said...

Thanks for the lesson in word meanings. Mom used to say she had champagne tastes and a beer pocketbook. I'm off to see the orthopedist abot my hip. That's a bad problem. May your knee recover.

Anonymous said...

So what you're saying is a new way of saying those of privilege. I had been thinking using the word privilege had to change. It really ticks many people off. Oh dear, I hope this isn't another word that will get beaten to death. I remember years ago we went to Charleston the end of June. I grumbled all the way there. Who goes to SC this time of year it'll be hot and humid? When we got there they got hit with an extremely rare cold front. I had to run and buy sweaters. We considered it a problem the locals considered it a welcome break. I agree, I think health problems are just problems no matter how it happened.

Anonymous said...

I got my state ID it only took 2 hours, the supervisor at the dept. of licensing approved my ID..yippee skippee, I don't drive so it was a big big problem, could not even do our taxes and my part time job it was a big hassle..Not to mention a tiny pension I was getting they stopped it asap I told them I could not get my state ID it was not cheap but I don't care, feels like I won the powerball, the lady and gentlemen who did the whole matter will be getting two cakes from me..Usually when I tried to get it done the people in back of the counter just shrugged me off I would not be deterred at all today..Oh, Friday a full moon, some eclipse Saturday and on Friday some other thingie in the skies, causing lots of stuff and grief..Not a champagne moment they say but to me today it is cause for a big celebration! Yippee Skippeeeeeee!

gigihawaii said...

Yeah, but I don't like champagne.

joared said...

I've heard of champagne tastes but champagne problems are new to me. Each of our problems are all relative, I think, in which case pay attention to your knee issues.

Peter J. Sanderson said...

Interesting term. Here we use the term "westside woes" - probably referring to the fact that curiously, it is usually the west side of towns and cities that are the most affluent.

Anonymous said...

Everything here in Vancouver Washington is moving to the east not west that would be to another town you would be moving toooo! Every town I have lived in the east side won the honors of rishes and affluent, the west side not so much whatsoever..West in LA is UCLA westwood country pretty nice place to live, La Jolla is definitely west but few can afford to live there now..East san diego goes to the desert and is lovely and nice. Doesn't matter where one lives if one has no job no food, no hydration and no place to rent or call home it is definitely not the right part of town!!!!!!!!!!!

Barbara said...

I'm glad to say most of my problems are Champagne Problems at the moment. I had not heard that phrase before and I like it. I intend to use it in the future.

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