Thursday, October 8, 2009

Gimme Five

According to the New York Times, anxiety tops the chart in the mental illness hit parade. Yay, we’re number one; we’re number one.

Before we celebrate, understand, according to this article and the attendant research, anything that doesn’t feel particularly good falls under the heading of general anxiety. Worry about finances, dread over natural and manmade disasters, fear of flying or water or heights or disease. The nagging feeling that whenever the bell tolls, it tolls for me.

Have you ever had trouble sleeping? Do you ever self-medicate? Do little things irritate you disproportionately?

About that last one.

Yeah, well, maybe so. I have a list of major sources of irritation, made up of things so trivial, that the fact they bother me really, really bothers me and keeps me awake at night and drives me to self medicate.

Fortunately, my list does not include the top five words and phrases which, according to a Marist college poll, most irritate Americans.

It’s a benign, unimaginative list, and includes some phrases that really are quite necessary if one doesn’t want to sound like a windbag pundit. “Anyway,” for example, and “you know.” Why not just take “and” away from us and be done with it.

If masses of people were sputtering “ergo” or “heretofore,” that would be a different matter. But even the apparently hated “whatever” surely has a place in daily dialogue.

I suppose if a tolling bell with my name on it were poised atop my head, ready to explode, I could come up with a pretty ordinary phrase that grates on me no end: “This particular point in time.” I don’t have to parse all its problems for you, for YOU, who unfailingly correct my grammar on a daily basis. The perfectly adequate “now” or “then,” depending on the context, could take the place of that jumble.

Whatever. You know, at this particular point, I’m not going to lose any sleep over it. Anyway, not when it's time to self medicate.


  1. But wait, "we're number one" is only three words...

    AH: your humor always delays my self-medication. Btw, could I add "thusly" to the list? It, like, drives me mad, you know?

  2. "Thinking outside the box" whenever I hear that phrase I head for the nearest bag of Cheet-os to do a little self medicating. Unless your living in a igloo/yurt or teepee, one's best thinking occurs in a box of one form or another.

    I feel better now

  3. Oh, you wrote this for me! I mean, at the end of the day, it's all about me, you know what I'm saying?

    No? You didn't write it for me?

    Oh. Oh, oh, oh, my god, I'm so horribly, horribly embarrassed. Oh sometimes I'm just...

    Excedrin PM. It's a blue tablet. Supposed to be a "night-time pain reliever" but this is a sleeping pill, believe me. The recommended dose is two pills but a half a tablet puts me out for 9 hours.

  4. I'm glad I'm not the only one who gets disproportionately irritated. I had no idea it meant anxiety though. I just thought it meant I am an impatient/sometimes mean brat. :D

    Petrea - Excedrin PM huh? Good to know.

  5. After reading this latest journal post of yours, you worry me. How can I now sleep? Bcuz of this, you're probably gonna keep me up tonite.

  6. writing in all lower case irritates the bejeezus out of me. it's not cute. it's not coy. and you haven't earned the right to be political. because only bell hooks gets to use an i like that.

    Anxiety? Truly, madly, deeply.

  7. "It is what it is." I think that translates to, "You don't like it? Too bad for you."

  8. Fail. That's mine. The way people, especially hip people, add the word fail to something to indicate that it is bad. Corporatefail. Restaurantfail. LANGUAGEFAIL. Oh, and usually they'll mention that something else is "full of win." And at that point I reach for Petrea's Excedrin PM.

    Linda, will you still be my friend even though I write poems in all lowercase? Please? Just don't tell me I'm full of poetfail.

    WV: gerdmo. It's a detention center where they torture you by giving you gastroesophageal reflux disorder.

  9. Oh dear, time for me to hit the hay. I thought some of the worry was over marmalade disasters - not wanting to diminish the importance of marmalade disasters, but ... whatever. {And I haven't even popped one of Petrea's little blue pills.}

  10. marmaladefail, shellsherree.

    walgreen's has a cheaper generic equivalent that works just as truly, madly and deeply.

    Don't drive once you've taken those things.

  11. Actually, "actually" actually irritates me to no end. It's overused actually.

  12. Let me make this clear...

    It only means I have to hear the same rhetoric one more time, which drives me nuts. Make it clear the first time!

    Did I overreact?

  13. Oxford also published a list. One of Petrea's made the top ten, as well as "fairly unique," and "I personally."

    My goal is to assemble everyone's worst into one sentence. Yes I can. i mean, yes i can.

    (Lower case does suit Laurie.)

  14. I'm not sure if it makes me more or less anxious to know how common anxiety is.

    wv: aftme, as in, aftme, the deluge

  15. Anxiety !! Topic to think ....Well nice article...Karen you always make me think on your post...Nice one..Unseen Rajasthan

  16. People who write about annoying words and phrases are self- medicating with unnecessary columns.


  17. Woke up thinking about another one that really gets me. When people screw up the use of myself. It often comes up when someone is interviewed on local TV. Something like, "my wife and myself were sitting on the couch when the alien craft landed on the Landrover."

  18. It is what it is and at the end of the day...... bottoms up!

    PS BTW, you failed to mention my present high repairs! Pass the bottle.

  19. My anxiety comes and goes.

    I get irritated by "disconnect" and synergy. However I go absolute bonkers hearing "where at".

  20. I can live with gobs of annoying catch phrases, the idiosyncrasies of little blue pills, the messiness of Cheetos (preferably crunchy), whatev. But don't ask me to unpack that for you. Not unless you have a taser and a straight jacket at the ready.

  21. I'm with Dez: Laughter is the best medicine and I'm glad you doll it the little pills so freely. Really.

  22. Just suppress....or surprise me!

  23. There are those that create in me a sense of anxiety, sometimes mental turmoil and angst, an can vault me into a virtual homicidal state of mind. For example, there are those who try and force me to affirm things seemingly vomited from the mouths of recent and immediate decedents of 4.4 million year old Ardi. How’s this excerpt from a recent college dropout.
    “You understand what I’m saying? You know what I mean? Isn’t that right?”
    “NO! Dipstick, it is not right.”
    Then there is the persistent “like” punctuator. A discussion thread might be as follows. “Am I’m, like, looking at them and, like, they don’t even know what I’m saying, and it’s like, I’m, like, not even there with that laxidasical attitude that’s trying to look through me. And then this athalete looks at me, like I’m, like, WHOA, you know that I mean? Are we on the same page or WHAT? Are you talking to him and I, or what? WHAT? Subjunctive what?

  24. CB3DOt, I feel you. And I've noticed that people around here stopped using like like that a few years ago and replaced it with all.

    "And I was all well, you can't do that and he was all, yeah, dude, I can do that, and I was all you better shut up and he was all, no way!"

    WHen that trend started, I started checking out and going to that special place in my mind where things are quiet... Heck, it beats the alternative where I start channeling Max Von Sydow from his character in Hannah and her Sisters.

  25. Max was special, wasn't he?

    The following doesn't annoy me, it kind of charms me. It's a tagline to a big feeling but an inadequate expression thereof: "And everything." I have a couple of friends who are more visual than verbal, so, when stuck in words, that's how they try to lead someone to the bigger picture.

  26. To sleep or not to sleep, your head is spinning. From self medication would be the question.

    Grammar, spelling, and punctuation seldom annoy me. But what does is the overuse of the word "like" and the phrase, "he/she goes".

    "She was like late from school, like she lost her watch. But she goes, "hey, I like I'm very late."

    On and on I hear the words "like" and "he/she goes" and like my head like begins to like spin.

    Gonna' need the scotch bottle after this one.

  27. WAIT DESIREE, I'm Learning ENGLISH, You know: We Are number one is 4 words. :D
    K. anxiety, I prooved, I'm now just irritating for political things. About other things I have my italian recipes.

  28. One of our neighbors has the license plate (a vanity plate on their HUGE SUV) "Whatevr". I roll my eyes everytime I see it. Like, whatever!

  29. So many wonderful awful terms/phrases here! You've done a wonderful thing here, Karin, letting everyone vent. One phrase that I've thoroughly tired of [even though I used to like and use it] is "At the end of the day..." Unless you're talking about sunset, shut up.

  30. Ok, guess we're all feeling a little better, one way or another.

    At the end of the day, at the end of the day appears to have the most votes.

  31. "sustainable"

    It's now used on everything from corn flakes to private schools.

    For whom doth this bell toll?

    Thanks for irritating me.