Being Thankful for 1st World Problems

I have relatives who knew real problems, living in ghettos under Nazi control. You've seen the movies, you've read the books, you've heard the stories. It was a million times worse than anything you can imagine. Likewise, when I was in my twenties I survived a major health scare. The kind of health scare that puts everything else -- all your problems -- in serious perspective. Still, today, in 2011, I admit that I suffer from first world problems.  This morning, for instance, I pulled on the dental floss and a little piece, about 2 inches, came out of the dispenser and it was suddenly empty. Nobody can floss with a 2 inch piece of floss, right? I was momentarily displeased. Yesterday, I had a heckuva time getting my son dressed and in his car seat and to preschool on time. We wound up arguing and I was in a very bad mood afterwards. "Oy, do I have problems," I thought. But again, let's keep it in perspective: this, by comparison, is a first world problem.

As Thanksgiving approaches, I'm doing a lot of thinking about this subject, and am thankful for the fact that most of my problems, if not all of my problems, are not real problems at all. In the grand scheme of things, when you have relatives who perished in the Holocaust, or friends who've suffered through breast cancer, what problems are really worth stressing about? How about you all? What kind of first world problems are you embarrassed to say really get your goat? Maybe your Internet download speed isn't fast enough. Maybe you think you pay too much in taxes. Maybe a certain app you want to buy is only available on iPhone but you have Android. Confession time. Leave your first world problems anonymously or otherwise in the comments below. Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I am most thankful for the loyal readership I've watched grow here on mental_floss blog over the last six years. Keep coming back, we really appreciate you!

A Very Brief History of Chamber Pots

Some of the oldest chamber pots found by archeologists have been discovered in ancient Greece, but portable toilets have come a long way since then. Whether referred to as "the Jordan" (possibly a reference to the river), "Oliver's Skull" (maybe a nod to Oliver Cromwell's perambulating cranium), or "the Looking Glass" (because doctors would examine urine for diagnosis), they were an essential fact of life in houses and on the road for centuries. In this video from the Wellcome Collection, Visitor Experience Assistant Rob Bidder discusses two 19th century chamber pots in the museum while offering a brief survey of the use of chamber pots in Britain (including why they were particularly useful in wartime).

A Tour of the New York Academy of Medicine's Rare Book Room

The Rare Book Room at the New York Academy of Medicine documents the evolution of our medical knowledge. Its books and artifacts are as bizarre as they are fascinating. Read more here.


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