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Champagne Problems? If We Could All Be So Lucky!

Published: January 21, 2022

What Are Champagne Problems?

Did you ever hear a person complain about some issue in their life, and think to yourself: Boy, I wish I had that problem?

That’s a champagne problem, a term I ran across in a recent book (although I can’t remember which one… perhaps in a senior moment, which may in itself be a champagne problem).

The urban dictionary defines a champagne problem as a “trivial middle-class grievance,” or a problem that is insignificant compared to the issues of poverty, racism and natural disaster, yet a problem that needs to be addressed nevertheless.

Examples Of Champagne Problems

For example, maybe you sold your house, or received a windfall of some kind, and you have a lot of money. But what do you do with it? You can put it in the bank and get virtually no interest, or you can invest in the stock market at all-time highs and risk losing some of it. A champagne problem. But a problem nonetheless. 

Or, another way to put it, it’s a problem where you have to make a decision, and either way the outcome is positive. The kid who gets in to both Stanford and UC Berkeley. Tough decision; but you know the kid is going to be fine either way. 

It’s the opposite of a Sophie’s choice, where you’re between a rock and a hard place (from the William Styron book in which Sophie had to choose between her children). And it’s different from a Hobson’s choice, where you’re forced to take it or leave it (from Thomas Hobson who ran a stable in England and offered customers the choice of taking the horse in the stall nearest the door or taking none at all).

Actually, there’s a 2016 Meghan Trainor song Champagne Problems that  details some of these issues — ones perhaps suffered more by Millennials than people our age, like the wi-fi doesn’t work, the Uber is late and the iPhone dies.

So where am I going with this? I got champagne problems.

My Own Champagne Problems

I went to Florida to get warm for a while. The weather was beautiful. But B couldn’t come with me, so I was left on my own. A champagne problem.

I did meet up with a friend of mine one day, and we played golf. But I played horribly and lost $2. Another champagne problem.

Now I’ve traveled up to South Carolina and met up with B. Oh boy, it was great to see her! But yesterday the temperature was in the 40s, and … we’re freezing! Another champagne problem, although it’s supposed to be back up in the 70s by Tuesday.

My other problem: I hurt my knee playing pickleball when I was in Florida. (Don’t know pickleball? It’s the latest game for seniors, kind of a cross between tennis and Ping Pong — but that’s a subject for another post). So I’ve been hobbling around for the past week, gobbling Advil during the day and icing my knee at night. A problem, for sure. But it is getting better, and I’m hoping it’s good enough by Wednesday so B and I can go dancing. And compared to a lot of people my age who have heart problems or who have had to deal with cancer or diabetes or some other serious condition, my sore knee is nothing but another champagne problem.

So the temperature here is forecast to reach into the high 60s this afternoon. Do we go to the beach, or not? 

May all the issues in your life not be a Sophie’s choice or a Hobson’s choice, but simply… a champagne problem.

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About The Author
Tom Lashnits
Tom Lashnits
Tom Lashnits spent 40 years in New York book and magazine publishing before retiring to Bucks County, PA, in 2017. He now volunteers in the school system, produces the baby boomer blog Sightings Over Sixty . . . and is just starting to chase after grandchildren.
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