Public Health Alert: The “Too Busy & Important” Epidemic, By Ed Vassie / by Ed Vassie

The Metaphorical Health Department (MHD) has released this judgmental health alert the people of Newcastle to be on the lookout for signs and symptoms of chronic “busyness” and “self-importance”.

This MHD alert comes on the back of the city of Sydney recently becoming paralysed by an epidemic of people being “too busy” and self-important to act in a manner consistent with human decency. The majority of Sydney residents are now walking the streets aimlessly staring at their phones. Some are so focused on their screens that they are stuck in a perpetual loop of walking into a brick wall.

Sydney busyness (by @djskinnylatte) 

Sydney busyness (by @djskinnylatte) 

Possible signs and symptoms that an individual has become too busy and self-important:

  • Overwhelming urges to FaceTime people, in public, on speaker, about nothing important.
  • Inability to comprehend that they’re not as important as any of the characters in the hit American TV show “Suits”.
  • The giving of “attitude” by someone to a bus driver for not mounting the median strip and running over pedestrians so that they can get to work on time.
  • Irrational demands to speak to the manager of a cafe in the event that a request for almond milk is met with a completely justified eye-roll from the barista.
  • A deathly fear that if a material item is not purchased at the earliest possible time one’s existence will not be worthwhile.
  • Chortling instead of laughing (if you don’t know what chortling sounds like, think of how a cartoonish captain of industry would laugh at a joke about a reduction in their employees’ rights - that's chortling).  
  • The use of oversized golf umbrellas on crowded pedestrian streets in the pouring rain.

 Potential exposure sites:

  • Any form of public transport infrastructure (including, but not limited to inner city pedestrian footpaths).
  • Any cafe that has a specific “Brunch” menu and thinks that it is acceptable to tell someone that it will be a 90 minute wait for a table despite the fact that they had made a reservation.
  • All traffic intersections and pedestrian crossings, particularly if an oversized European SUV is approaching.
  • Flash sales for over-priced brands of … anything really, but in particular activewear and soon to be liquidated menswear brands.

What can you do?

If you see a loved one suffering from any of the above symptoms it is important that you don't rush to judgment and condemn their actions immediately. Treat them with compassion. The early onset of these symptoms is a natural reaction to the mountains of pressure piled upon people these days to live the perfect material existence.

Facebook, Instagram and the current proliferation of home renovation shows create the expectation amongst us that if the cornices and skirting boards in our living rooms don't transcend the perceived limits of perfection then our house is not fit for human habitation, or that if our weekend activities aren't social media share-worthy we’re not living our perfect life and should retire to a cave in the mountains in shame.

So, give your friends and loved ones a break and if they're exhibiting some of the above symptoms give them a hug and tell them to relax. We're not built to be busy all the time. We don't need to get from A to B in the quickest possible time. You're not a failure if you don't achieve your goals in record time or if your goals aren't at the lofty heights of worldwide domination.

If your friends and loved ones continue to exhibit these symptoms, tell them to shut up and to get over themselves.


Hopefully with this approach, Newcastle will be immune from the epidemic of busyness and self-importance.