Overreaction Nation

We combed the headlines and found these funny stories that prove once and for all that nothing is too small or too insignificant for Americans to get worked up about.

By Lenore Skenazy from Reader's Digest Magazine | June 2012

Overreaction NationIllustration by John Cuneo
The Overreaction: Officials Drain Urine-Tainted Reservoir

Consider the case of the young man caught relieving himself in a reservoir in Portland, Oregon. Disgusting? Yes. As the guy himself admitted, he should have known better.

But the same goes for the city. In reaction to a pint of fluid, it drained the entire reservoir—eight million gallons. What do the bureaucrats think the fish are doing in there? But officials couldn’t just say “It’s no big deal,” because they knew the public has been trained to hear those words as “We don’t care about your safety.”

The Overreaction: Town Bids Permanent Farewell to Barbershop Poles

Our responses are getting bigger and bigger to smaller and smaller threats. Did you ever flee from a spinning barbershop pole, fearing for life and limb? No? Well, the town of Thornton, Colorado, just banned them. One town official explained to the Denver Post, “We don’t want signs to be distracting, especially to motorists.”

If old-fashioned poles are so distracting, shouldn’t every barbershop have a car-shaped hole in its window?

Not to be outdone, a high school in Virginia gave a boy a half-year suspension for launching a spit wad. “Assault is assault is assault,” declared a captain in the local sheriff’s office. Maybe so. But spit wads are spit wads are spit wads, and there’s even an easy way to tell the difference, Captain. Someone gets hit upside the head with a pool cue? Assault. Someone’s trying to keep a straight face in Sex Ed? Spit wad.

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  • Your Comments

    • Jeff

      Very good!!!

    • Jeff

      Very good!!!