Got complaints? Hate your life? Please stop whining. I don’t want to hear it. And I especially don’t want to hear…
I don’t feel good. Really? Your tummy hurts? You have a headache? A bug? In 1918 a flu pandemic killed 100 million people. Today you go to the Acme and get a flu shot for $15. In 1952, 38,000 people contracted polio in America alone. Polio? Gone. So, please. Go to work. You’re not sick. You’re just hung-over.
I hate the airlines. Do you mean the industry that, despite a surge in airline travel, has managed just half as many fatal accidents in 2012 as there were in 1960? Stop complaining already. They get you to your destination usually close to the time you wanted and in one piece. And by the way, the cost of an airline ticket, adjusted for inflation, has fallen 50 percent from 1978 to 2011.
I hate the winter. This winter was tougher than usual. But bear in mind that between 1920 and 1949 an average of 433,000 people died each year globally from “extreme weather events.” That figure is now around 27,500. And it’ll be 27,501 if that guy in front of me doesn’t learn how to drive in a little snow.
I hate that guy in front of me who’s driving too slow in just a little snow. Before I do something I may regret, let’s consider that even though our population has grown significantly, only 11 people per 100,000 died in traffic accidents in 2009 compared to 23 per 100,000 in 1950. Take a deep breath, take a deep breath…
The Phillies totally suck. OK, that’s a legit complaint.
I hate my roommate. There’s probably good reason for this. But know that in 1900 there was just one housing unit for every five Americans and today there’s one for every three. The average new home has more bathrooms than occupants. And by the way the average American house or apartment is twice as large as its counterpart in Japan and three times larger than a house or apartment in Russia. Putin may have his eye on the Crimea but he can get a 3BR, 2 bath much easier by just invading Drexel Hill. And as far as I’m concerned, he can have it.
My kids are idiots and they drive me nuts. If they’re like my kids, there’s probably good reason for this complaint. But we love them. We appreciate that infant mortality in the U.S. has gone from 58 per 1,000 births in 1933 to just 6 per 1,000 births now. And besides, high school graduation rates are at a 40-year high and a century ago less than 1 in 20 Americans ever stepped foot in college. So other than putting diesel fuel in the Honda and eating the dog’s biscuits because there were no potato chips around, how stupid can that kid really be?
I hate getting old. Granted, it isn’t pretty, nor does it smell good. But only 10 percent of Americans over the age of 65 live in poverty today compared to 30 percent in 1966. Not only that but in 1900 65 percent of men over the age of 65 were still in the workforce and today that number is down to 22 percent. Half a century ago most Americans worked until they died. Now they just kill their kids with their incessant demands.
I don’t make enough money. Yes you do. The cost of an average new car has fallen fourfold since 1915. The price of food has declined 90 percent since the 19th century. Electricity cost more than 10 times as much in 1900 and was only in 30 percent of American homes as recently as 1950. Median household income, adjusted for inflation, has doubled since then, too. A three-minute phone call from New York to San Francisco cost $12.66 in 1960, adjusted for inflation. And speaking of inflation, it has been below 5 percent in 77 percent of the years over the past seven decades. You’re making enough money. You’re just spending too much of it at Starbucks.
I need to lose weight. You’re probably fine. And the next time you’re hungry consider this: From 1920 to 1980, an average of 395 people per 100,000 died from famine worldwide each decade and today that number is down to 3 per 100,000.
I hate Obama/Christie/Hillary/Bush. Whatever your political leaning, don’t forget that if you’re making more than $34,000 per year then you’re officially one of the world’s richest one percent. To be one of the richest 5 percent, you need to pull in $5,000 per year. You may throw up watching Fox or MSNBC, but only 4 percent of all the humans on earth are lucky enough to live in America. So be grateful, switch over to Duck Dynasty and order another pizza.
I hate my life. Better get used to it. Life expectancy in the U.S. was 29 years in 1800 and today it’s 79 years. Not only that but the number of lifetime years spent in leisure (retirement plus time off) has risen from 11 in 1870 to about 40 years today. Now get off the sofa, dammit!
The days are getting longer. The weather’s getting warmer. So stop complaining.
Thanks to the most excellent Morgan Housel at The Motley Fool who put all this great data together.
Follow @GeneMarks on Twitter.