Common Sources

Our statisticians have prepared an analysis of where the harassment originates.

  • Post-Christmas gift returns/exchanges.
  • Male pattern baldness
  • Taking down the holiday decorations including putting all the ornaments in the right box.
  • The steady throb of anxiety and problems with no terrific solution available
  • School registration
  • The kabuki dance of an FAA physical wherein everyone pretends that a career spent next to high powered turbines doesn’t lead to hearing loss. (Huh?)
  • Helping the computer illiterate with any of the following: Vlookup, queries, E-mail, copying, pasting, saving, why Windows Explorer 9 need not be supported, where they saved their file, display settings on their monitor, etc.
  • Putting up the holiday decorations.
  • The Kafka-esque Lindy-hop with air travel where you schlep your bag through security to save the $30 bag fee, then gate check it because everyone knows there isn’t anywhere near adequate overhead space on an airliner.
  • Putting 14 socks in the washing machine. Getting 13 out of the dryer.
  • Politicians needing to appear like they’re doing something vs. doing no harm. No easy choices here.
  • Retrieving your impounded car from the City of Chicago
  • Annual Physical wherein a foreign object is placed in your hard-to-reach area.
  • The BF Skinner Hoedown of dealing with the billing people at the University of Illinois at Chicago Hospital system.
  • Inability of far too many institutions to understand the need to adapt or die
  • Three words: Windows M.E.
  • Root Canal
  • The late 40s mid life crisis.
  • Short term need to isolate vs. long term need of real social interactions.
  • Menopause
  • Any standardized test (e.g. ACT, SAT, I-Ready, PARK, GRE, etc.)
  • Searching for, getting frustrated, and finally retrieving, the holiday decorations within the garage or basement. Bonus points for bashed shins, back pain, and sneezing due to dust. Cursing that your previous year’s organizational insight didn’t work as planned.
  • The immortal words of Peggy Noonan: “It’s all so much.”
  • Visit the DMV/IL Secretary of State’s Office
  • Microsoft Excel being smarter than you by knowing the “E-01” at the end of the part number isn’t really a string like you think. It’s a number with scientific notation.
  • Throwback moment: Learning synthetic division. A shortcut in polynomial division that is useful in only one specialized case.
  • Furniture shopping.
  • Three Words: Toilet Paper Shortage.
  • Throwback moment: Taking an art history course to broaden your horizons only to discover you have zero aesthetic sense, zero interest in brute force memorization, zero interest in the art world name dropping the professor is doing. Followed with your professor’s “Deer in headlights look” upon hearing your insight that the American Indian tune he played in class was based on a minor pentatonic scale, something you thought was kind of a European influenced thing.
  • Two Words: N95 Masks
  • Having to pee on a campout when it’s cold. When you’re a dude on the wrong side of 40.
  • The new work uniform: No shave, no shower, no problem. Oh wait, this is a good thing.
  • Two words: Colonoscopy Prep.
  • Throwback moment: Taking more than three attempts to get your tie’s knot tied correctly so that the short end isn’t below the fat end, and so that the fat end isn’t by your crotch. And getting the knot more or less symmetrical.
  • How -exactly- do we balance educating our kids yet keeping them safe?
  • Passport Photos, particularly where the attitude-and-student-debt-laden millennial working at the CVS gives you the “three snaps in Z formation” treatment.
  • Setting up a tent in the dark. Or when it’s raining cats and dogs.
  • Your internet connection going down is all of a sudden a major problem
  • Closing the deal on a car purchase.
  • Contempt for Science
  • The blue screen of death. No one hears your screams.
  • Stowing the holiday decorations. Investing the energy in arranging stuff such that you can retrieve it next year with a fraction of the hassle of this year’s retrieval, suspecting that the second law of thermodynamics is going to win again.
  • Call to an IRS 800-number help line.
  • Prep for a colonoscopy
  • Driving from Chicago to Indy. Then back to Chicago because you forgot your work issued cell phone.
  • Widespread contempt for a different point of view
  • Throwback Moment: Attending a tag sale with your mom. Or going to the fabric store with her.
  • The Service Economy getting wiped out
  • Leaders in both parties who should be ashamed of themselves for acting like hacks instead of leaders.
  • High stakes visit from a corporate seagull.
  • Any parent taking youth athletics (or scouting or how their third grader is going to get into Harvard, etc. etc. etc.) entirely too seriously.
  • The only coffee option is a two year old container of Taster’s Choice instant.

How You Can Help

These things tend to be self-selective. Start using the expression with your friends and neighbors who have some self awareness and understand that proactivity is not really about planning ahead, it’s about being the master of your reactions to various stimuli (particularly the hassle laden ones).

Decline the invitation either to someone else’s drama or preference to make decisions based on dogma instead of evidence.

Above all, try to laugh at it. Particularly in 2020, a Sisyphean Rock of Absurdity if ever there was one.