Archive for the ‘Stress – pressure’ Category

WSJ: “When young men snap”

May 26, 2022

The recurring cause of mass shootings.

Earlier this week, I posed the question: How much stress can Americans endure before cracking?

My central thesis: My point: Escalating stress levels are evident … and spreading like wildfire across geographies, demographics, and age groups.

I ended by asking: Where’s the breaking point — individually and collectively? … and, What will “the great break” look like?

Mine was a cosmic-level question.

Then came the tragedy at Robb Elementary School which made the question very real, and very specific.

Dem politicos immediately seized the opportunity to call for stricter gun control laws.

GOP politicos called for more police and “hardening” school access.

IMHO, the WSJ hit the nail on the head in their editorial Young Men, Guns and Guardrails which argued, in part:

The problem of how to stop mass shootings by disturbed young men is one of the hardest in a democratic society.

Stopping mass shooters like the one in Uvalde, Texas, will be harder than passing a law.

The societal challenge is anticipating when a young man — and it is nearly always a young man — will snap.

Today’s young killers … are typically from middle-class families.

They  with access to smartphones and X-boxes.

Their deficit is social and spiritual.

The rise of family dysfunction and the decline of mediating institutions such as churches and social clubs have consequences.


My take:

Two of the most disparaged social institutions in America these days are religion , which provides a moral compass …  and the nuclear family, which traditionally provided youngsters with nurturing, moral support and a grounding in right and wrong.

Now, actualizing the mantra that Hillary Clinton coined that “It takes a village”, there’s a reliance on “the  village” … an amorphous array of institutions, individuals and values that muddles mores and liberate parents from their  responsibilities.

When “right & wrong” are muddled, there is no moral clarity.

When  “the village” is responsible, nobody is responsible.

And, when “the village” fails us, we’re screwed.

And, we wonder why things are going haywire…

How much stress can Americans endure before cracking?

May 23, 2022

Or, aggregating the question: How much stress can America endure?

Recently, I’ve noticed a couple of trends.

Practically everybody I know has gotten sick in the past couple of months … some Covid, but mostly prolonged colds and intestinal “issues”.

And, everybody seems stressed out.

Think those 2 “indications” are related?


Stress factors

Inflation is gnawing at everybody and forcing hard choices.

Every trip to the grocery store is what a friend euphemistically calls “an unfulfilling experience” … with noticeably higher prices (every week), smaller packages and empty shelves.

The gas price spike may be the straw that will break the economic camel’s back … with neon signs every couple of miles reminding people that prices are are out of control


Housing costs

Next up will be housing costs.

Last week, I chatted up the Amazon Prime driver who was handing me a package.

He said he loves his job, loves living in the area …  but just had his rent bumped up to $3,800 a month.

That’s almost $50 grand a year, sports fans.

My bet: He’s not making much more than that driving the truck … if he’s even making that.

The driver frowned when I opined that the sky-rocketing real estate prices of the past few years still haven’t fully made their way thru the system … and higher interest rates will eventually be passed through to rental rates.


Retirement nest eggs

For awhile, our retirement nest egg sheltered us a bit .. making all of the above inflation effects annoying, but not sleep shattering.

But, a 20% drop in the stock market has quickly deflated financial cushions and pushed a lot of retirees into the inflationary pool (cesspool?) with everybody else.


Social pressures

Then there are the “social issues”.

Many people have residual Covid fears — still being stoked by Fauci & Friends — and have anxieties when going to sporting events, restaurants or even weddings & funerals.

Understandably, nobody seems eager to head into crime ridden urban centers for a night of entertainment.

The lockdowns took a toll.

Many (most? all?) companies are having a hard time coaxing employees back to the office (and getting productivity back on track).

Parents are legitimately concerned about their kids’ education.

As one soccer mom put it recently: “My daughter is dumber now than she was 2 years ago.”

Charge that to virtual schooling … and changed curricular emphases in the schools … less reading, writing and arithmetic … more “social awareness”.

A case on point…

From a trusted source: Girls at one local middle school try to avoid using the school’s (“girls”) restroom ever since a gender-fluid, biological male started using their facilities.

If they can’t “hold it”, they make restroom stops a group activity.

And on … and on … and on.

My point: Escalating stress levels are evident … and spreading like wildfire across geographies, demographics, and age groups.

Where’s the breaking point — individually and collectively?

What will “the great break” look like?

Geez, it’s hard to be optimistic…

Chaos, Cortisol and “Crisis Fatigue”

June 9, 2020

On my weekly trip to the grocery store (during Sunrise Senior Hours, of course), I sensed a change in folks’ demeanor.  Many people had a defeated, hang-dog look on their masked faces.

I thought it might just be me projecting my feelings onto them, but when I got home, I spotted an article in WIRED titled “All This Chaos Might Be Giving You ‘Crisis Fatigue”.

The punch line: Your body is well adapted to handle temporary stresses, but it may be overwhelmed by the constant, unrelenting pressures we’re all currently facing.


Here’s the essence of the article…


Memo to Michelin: Shove your stars …

October 3, 2017

3-star chef wants out of the rankings


According to the NY Times

Sébastien Bras, one of France’s most celebrated chefs, has stunned the French culinary world with an unlikely plea: Take my three Michelin stars away.

Mr. Bras is fed up with the pressure of maintaining those stars. He says he is seeking nothing less than culinary “liberation” and “a new meaning to my life.”

While the stars confer cachet and financial security, Mr. Bras’s audacious move is also reflective of a new generation of chefs, some of whom are eager to escape from the punishing strain of unpredictable rankings and malicious food critics.

“Three stars mean that everything must be perfect, at any time, in every plate. One must be passionate, a genius, but mostly a workaholic, because you have to be working in your restaurant from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. every day, nonstop.”

There’s also an economic angle …


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