First World Problems: A Lesson In The Loo
By Judy Balan
First World Problems is a weekly advice column for India’s first world population. Write to Judy at firstname.lastname@example.org (confidentially!) if you’ve broken a nail, felt a little blue, yellow or green lately,
or had a strange encounter of the any-numbered kind.
PROBLEM: I work with a woman who doesn’t wash her hands — after anything. I’ve been in the loo several times and had to watch her leave without even rinsing. Should I say something to her? We’re a small office, it might get awkward. But on the other hand, I find myself watching everything she touches so I can avoid it. And that’s also awkward …. Help!
Play Secret Santa. Cheat, trade, just make sure you pick her name. Gift her a large bottle of sanitizer. Actually, just fasten it to her desk (in case she decides to take it home). Add a note saying you didn’t know her well enough to get her a gift more aligned to her taste (ha) but everyone could use more sanitizer, hence. And tell her you’d love to get to know her — because now you can. She’s got sanitizer! Alternatively, you could speak to HR to run a campaign on basic hygiene and put up scary posters inside the ladies’ room on what happens to people who don’t wash their hands. (They lose their friends? No one wants to eat with them?)
But of course, there’s a much simpler solution too — you could just get yourself the sanitizer and keep it by your desk. Use it every time you feel like you’ve touched a ‘carrier’. Of course, people will soon start calling you Crazy Sanitizer Lady, but who cares. I’m with you all the way on this. They will never know what it’s like to squeeze large quantities of sanitizer into your hands and know, in your heart, that you have fought germs and won. Losers. They are doomed to normalcy.
PROBLEM: My kids are suddenly too cool for me. They’ve fully hit the teen years and have no time for poor old dad, his music tastes, clothes, jokes, you name it. I’ve tried everything — learning One Direction lyrics, buying more stylish clothes (I didn’t even realize pants hadpleats), doing things they like to do, but I just can’t seem to get them excited about spending time with me anymore. What more are teens into?
Hahaha, I feel you. But, you know what, you’re doing it all wrong. See, the average teenager is wired to think that his parents know nothing and to go in the opposite direction. That is just the law of the universe or whatever. Now, my offspring is still a preteen, and I’m savouring the last, glorious years while she still thinks I’m cool. But I contend that you can make those turbulent teen years work for you. Here’s how: First, stop seeking their approval. You are their parent; you are cooler than them, simply because you have about three decades’ lead in this perplexing maze called life.
Now, once you’ve understood and embraced this fact, it’s time to have some fun. Go back to your own teen years. I mean, literally — change your clothes, your hairdo, your music, your lifestyle. It’s 1993, and you are walking around in your ripped jeans and static-loving Van Halen-hair, embracing a life of debauchery. Screw One Direction; unleash Nirvana on the house, and they won’t know what hit them. And they will respond by going in the opposite direction and living on an extremely high moral plane. Because that’s. What. Teenagers. Do.
This is my plan. Of course, you can’t do this alone. Your wife would need to be on board — or she’ll end up going in the opposite direction as well.