Tag Archive | stress


It had all the hallmarks of being a real doozy: The lights before my eyes, blurring of the vision, searing pain that arced across my cerebral cortex like lightning. I think I managed to catch it with analgesia and willpower before it really set in.

So that’s something.

My mind, however, is a complex and multifarious thing that at times delights and astounds.

Today, it was being a real prick.

When I’m trying to keep my shit together the last thing I need is an earworm. I pretty much always have some tune booting around in there and most of the time it’s something I like. Some of the time it’s completely improvised. Like earlier this morning I was grooving along to a jazzy little number that unfolded into something very pleasing. But when the headache kicked in things went a bit nasty.

Mash-ups are a strange but compelling musical phenomenon that have really taken off in recent years as editing software has become more readily available. A friend of mine will sometimes intentionally create them to irritate me. Occasionally he takes requests. Today my mind mashed up two pieces relentlessly in some kind of hateful, masochistic orgy or wrongness. Here are the two tunes:

I really liked the first couple of Coldplay albums. Their more recent offerings are not up my street. Repetitious and drab, is how I’d describe this piece. On its own it would be a diabolical earworm. Its companion in this ungodly meeting of muses was:

From about 1:54, anyway. I’ve managed to cling to my sanity, but only just. I hate Gilbert & Sullivan.

I welcome you to imagine how I managed to combine the two. Add a comment with your suggestion to how it’s done and I’ll let you know how close to my actual pain you are. This is called empathy.


The return of Mediocrity Man

Phil worked at a computer programming firm, where he specialised in windows. There was nothing at all that could in any way be described as extraordinary about Phil or his work. He simply did what was required of him and nothing else. Ambition was not a motivating factor in his life.

Every day he would sit at his terminal in his small and unadorned cubicle alongside the other 50 or so programmers in the room on the 19th floor of one of the more architecturally aspirational office buildings in the city. Phil’s work life was quite blissfully monotonous and he really quite liked it. However, he was completely oblivious to the fact that every one of his workmates seethed with bitter resentment for him.

They were unable to comprehend how he could lead such a peaceful existence, apparently unhindered by the pressures that drove each of them to medications for stress, anxiety and other ailments their working lives induced. They were utterly absorbed in their frantic, desperately competitive and miserably unrewarding careers, which spilled into their equally hectic, vacuous social lives. They would spend an inordinate part of their down-time bitching and moaning about Phil, whether it was during coffee breaks or at fashionable bars and cafes. They would carp on endlessly to their spouses and partners about this guy at work who just didn’t seem to get it, who wasn’t a team player, who thought he was too good for them.

Phil, of course, kept to himself and dreamed of his windows and remained utterly unaware that his co-workers never stopped once to notice how much of their precious time was devoted to such an unassuming and ordinary person.

But then, at work, nobody knew about his secrets.

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