I was six-years old. It was the first grade. Mrs. Franzianz had just finished chewing out my friend Donald for not staying in his seat during calligraphy. I was scared and there was no talking sense to her, but I had an urgent problem. The girl sitting next to me refused to listen to me. I liked her; she thought I smelled funny. I didn’t know to whom or where else to turn.
I peed myself. Afterward, my teacher told me that if things get bad enough, you may have to voice your opinion about them. Complain. She either said that or my chair wasn’t a toilet.
What the hell am I talking about? Why did I choose that anecdote? Aren’t most kids potty trained before grammar school?
I am talking about speaking your mind and what constitutes a worthwhile complaint. Mrs. Franzianz taught me how to do so, albeit in a roundabout way. And yes, I was a late bloomer.
Since coming to college, I have realized I still have a ways to go in being able to speak my mind. There is a lot to learn. However, my peers think they are experts at it — with social media at every student’s disposal, there is no lack of outlets for their musings. I now have access to every complaint circulating around campus and I can say for certain that they are not all gems.
This epidemic of misplaced emotion applies to a litany of UR problems. Everything severely bothers students, so much so that if you surveyed the student body, many could all happily regurgitate this list: 9 a.m. classes are torture, the library is a sauna a la Dante’s Inferno, I can’t online shop like I used to because of this wifi, there are no good parties, there are no acceptable guys here, there are no cute girls here, the Campus Times makes horrible toilet paper, Facebook stalkers like my 3-year-old tagged photographs, Danforth is inedible. College life is just unbearable.
I tried to sympathize with their plight. I tried to get with the program. I tried so hard, I wet myself again, although this time I was wearing a diaper. All of these complaints failed to affect me in the same way they affected them. When I went to complain about college life, I found that I differed in emotion and content.
Granted, I understand that there is a degree of irony in these proclamations. Nevertheless, the more people speak like this, the more the irony loses its punch. This is especially true with regards to most of my friends’ constant and extremely random explosions.
“FUCK!” Whoa, what’s wrong? “Oh never mind, I thought my iPhone froze.” Oh, I thought your girlfriend was pregnant.
“GODDAMN IT!” What is it? “Taylor Swift got engaged.” Really? “Yeah.” Well, I won’t dignify that outburst with a response.
Furthermore, let’s analyze this classic UR complaint: “I hate it when the winter sun decides to hide for weeks at a time. There’s nothing worse than cold weather.”
Hate is a strong word; I hate it when people say hate, simply because they usually don’t mean it. Mrs. Franzianz told me not to hate anyone and that if I have a problem, I shouldn’t overreact. Besides, I can think of some things worse than cold weather. My list includes, but is not limited to: world war, the loss of your job, midnight muggings, divorce, stubbing a toe, getting coal for Christmas, mistaking vodka for water, and spilling coffee on a cute date. Might I suggest a scarf, gloves and a coffee as defense against the chill?
If a complaint approaches the verbalizing part of my brain, I ponder the eight-out-of-10 rule. To vocalize a complaint, you should need eight out of 10 normal, law-abiding citizens to hypothetically feel the same way. This applies to face-to-face, online, and written communication.
To punish those breaking the rule, a police force of pandas will smother complainers with love and chocolate syrup until the perpetrators are sweet once again. That plan is still tentative and awaiting approval from various animal rights groups and the pandas themselves.
Most recently, there is the phenomenon of #firstworldproblems. I sense a similar irony with the usual UR complaints, but this hashtag was never officially explained to me. I can surmise that the tweets are about when something mundane and fixable ruins your day, like the utter devastation of having an outlet too far from a chair for the charger cord to reach.
Gouge out my eyes, send me to hell, how can life go on?
Still, I flirted with the concept.
I came up with: “Mrs. Franzianz was a bitch #firstgradeproblems.”
They told me I was an idiot and that the hashtag was wrong, to which I replied: “I remember when I was a pithy dick” and “Stop. It could be worse.”
Perhaps my second retort was not a defense of my out of place tweet, but rather a prescription to my peers. Stop. As a collective, all of this complaining makes you sound like a spoiled, rotten child who has never actually sniffed a real problem, other than that time the homeless man outside Java’s farted. The ironic complaints inevitably shape shift into actual complaints, which in turn become part of everyday vernacular. Social media provides an ever present forum for students’ grievances, but let’s distinguish between a real problem and a passing frustration.
It would be more appropriate for students to realize that having harmless problems should be celebrated, not announced individually. I am happy my most pressing issue is finding where the nearest bathroom is, so as to not pee my pants again. I don’t care how warm it is in there or that I have to sleepily stumble out of an early class to go, as long as I can avoid repeating my first-grade embarrassment. I can’t seriously complain about anything at the moment.
Brady is a member of the class of 2015.



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An open letter to all members of any university community

I strongly oppose the proposed divestment resolution. This resolution is nothing more than another ugly manifestation of antisemitism at the University.

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