I went to visit Mum in hospital the other night. I was hoping she’d be off her face on drugs, because I’ve never seen her high before and thought it would be entertaining, but it turns out that prescription narcotics only make her more talkative.
Among the list of demands she made (“more water”, “fluff my pillow”, “throw that in the bin”, “when are you going to give me grandchildren”, etc etc) was “I want you to write a blog about women who wear too much perfume and they stink”.
Turns out Mummy doesn’t like it when women engage in so-called ‘fragrance layering’ (i.e., using the matching shower gel, body cream and eau de parfum) and it totally rips her nightie. I’m not sure how I can give this a business angle, so I’ll make it brief: Stop wearing so much perfume, laydeez. You stinks.
Sharing her room was an opinionated lady who’d been sounding off about Woman’s Day and how rubbish she thinks it is. The NZ Herald also came in for a robust amount of her criticism, for being “all commentary and sharks” and no news.
I wanted to protest on behalf of the Day and the Herald; to tell her that it’s much harder to get the tone just right on a weekly women’s magazine than it is to write a dry business news story. To inform her of the state of media ownership in New Zealand, and to beat her over the head with her blood pressure cuff for the hypocrisy inherent in voting National and then daring to complain about the demise of TVNZ7.
Instead I nodded sagely, agreeing that yes, Woman’s Day is only fit for lower-class halfwits from Duntroon and oh yes, the Herald editor Shayne Currie is indeed the anti-Christ walking among us, even though I wouldn’t know him from a bar of soap. (Except the bar of soap would probably foam as it walks among us; I don’t imagine Shayne Currie foams as he walks, though if he is the journalistic anti-Christ, he probably sports a fetching pair of devil horns.) I kept my mouth shut because I’m rather tired of having to defend the media and my choice of occupation, particularly to people who just want to complain, rather than understand the issues at hand.
Instead, I’ve compiled here a handy reference list of other, non-journalistic things one can complain about instead of the state of media in New Zealand. If, like me, you've got complaint fatigue, you can simply keep this on hand for those pesky, awkward moments when you need to change the subject.
1. That parking ticket you got, when you were only two minutes later than the allocated time. I mean, have you ever? I have never.
2. That person at work who insists on microwaving their fish pie at lunch to the point where it explodes repeatedly in the microwave, and then doesn’t clean the appliance, instead retiring to eat al desko and stink out the office.
3. Your mother-in-law’s outrageous expectations for Mother’s Day, including that you spend all day fussing around her with multiple presents, even though it's perfect weather for a day out fishing (reminder: it’s this Sunday. Enjoy!).
4. The Roadwatch report you just got in the mail. You’re such a great driver, they must have mistaken you for someone else! How dare they. How dare they! Optional extra: write to the NZ Police and give them a piece of your mind. You know you're a perfect driver!
5. The price of milk/bread/eggs/hot stone massages these days. Or the price of anything, really, except newspapers, because you don’t pay for those any more, do you? You get it all free online SO STOP COMPLAINING.
6. How long you’re going to have to wait before you get UFB. Optional extra: complain about this on Twitter using the hashtag #firstworldproblems.
Do you spend much time defending your choice of occupation? I’d like to know. I thought lawyers would get a hard time of it (you know what Shakespeare said about lawyers? “First thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers”. It’s in one of the Henries, though I forget which), but I hardly ever hear people complaining about them. Parking wardens? Used car salesmen? Dwarf tossers?
And feel free to add your own handy substitute complaint below. The more, the merrier.