THE BLOG

Not A Problem, A Pribble

05/16/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

If you're like me, you often find yourself in a room of supposedly well-meaning liberals who say things from time to time that make you cringe. Often, they're blatantly racist or anti-immigrant jabs carefully disguised to seem merely classist. But often, it's conversation in the form of complaint -- an attempt to deny that many of us are, in fact, the oppressor by one-upping each with evidence of our own supposed oppression.

"I had to drive around for 40 minutes to find parking."

"My iPhone is running way too slow now with all the apps I have installed."

"We were planning a trip to Paris, but the Euro is just way too strong."

Think of these as modern versions of "Good help is so hard to find." And though they make me cringe, I've said them too. Chances are, if you're reading this post, at least one or two have crossed your lips...

Such problems, a friend recently suggested, are not in fact problems at all. They are pribbles -- problems of a privileged existence. Those of us who live in socio-economic bubbles think they're real problems because, other than on CNN, we very rarely come face-to-face with any real problems in our lives.

That's not to say that privileged people can't have real problems. Serious illness. Getting fired. Anything involving a sex tape. In fact, the pribbleness (yes, it works as an adjective) of other such events in life is patent when confronted with real problems.

If you're still not sure of the difference, let's look at a few examples:

Pribble: I don't have the right bottle of wine to go with my dinner.

Problem: I don't have dinner.

Pribble: My kid is getting a B- in pre-calculus at school.

Problem: My kid is getting jacked by a junior high gang at school.

Pribble: I bought too much tequila on vacation in Mexico and can't fit it in my suitcase.

Problem: I don't have enough money to pay the coyote who smuggled me across the border in his suitcase.

I'm not entirely sure how to end this post on a succinct and witty note. Fortunately, that's just a pribble...