Let me make this clear: I am not someone who is averse to complaining. In fact, a good part of my workday is devoted to griping about the minor annoyances of everyday life. It may not be something to be proud of, but I make an almost-decent living just by complaining.
So it is only fitting, I suppose, that I should now be complaining about how annoying I find it when other people complain – especially about things that I find perfectly acceptable and inoffensive. To wit: I was shocked and dismayed this week to learn that Frito Lay has abandoned its efforts to package a line of their salty snacks in compostable packaging because consumers felt that the bags were too loud. To which I can only ask: too loud for what? Were people bringing Sun Chips into opera houses, where the crackling of the bag distracted the audience from the second act of La boheme? Were cardiac surgeons being startled in the middle of heart transplants because someone down the hall was recklessly opening a bag of Cool Ranch Sun Chips? Were librarians around the country up in arms because Story Hour was being drowned out by raucous packets of savory corn snacks?
What does this say about us as people? Do we really feel that a bit of noise is too big a price to pay for reducing the amount of waste in landfills? Can we really not tolerate a little paper rustling if it will help to reduce ozone-destroying carbon emissions?
I also have to say that I find it hard to believe the biodegradable bags were so unbearably loud. I live in the path of an airport – there are planes booming over my house on a regular basis, causing me to pause in the middle of phone calls or – even worse – to miss several precious seconds of dialogue on Project Runway.
Were the Sun Chip bags louder than that?
And even if they were, I defy anyone to look at a photograph of polar bears clinging to the remains of melting icecaps and then say to my face that “global warming is bad, and all, but dang those bags were loud.”
I don’t care. And neither should you.
We have become a nation of cranky, coddled malcontents – like The Princess and the Pea, we are unwilling or unable to handle the slightest discomfort, even if it will lead to the greater good. People need to suck it up and stop making a big deal about such minor problems. And they should leave the complaining to trained professionals. Like me.