The trouble with syndromes

April 16, 2013 

We have a habit of making victims out of those who do despicable deeds. We often do this by claiming they have some sort of disease or syndrome to rationalize what has been done.

Recently, a local situation brought to my attention a new malady I hadn’t heard of before – HOA Syndrome. When a Harrisburg, N.C., man gunned down two neighbors last month, supposedly over a dispute with trees in his yard, several psychologists were chomping at the bit. They explained that this poor, troubled man suffered from HOA Syndrome.

In this condition, a person is filled with extreme anger due to a highly restrictive homeowners association. The person cannot control his actions because of this distress he has been burdened with.

In my view, when somebody is angry enough to shoot people, any trigger might as well be labeled as a syndrome, no pun intended.

It just makes you wonder, if people with HOA Syndrome are so fragile they can snap because their grass is an inch too high, wouldn’t it be just a matter of time before they go off due to something else?

The next time some fast-food worker screws up a drive-thru order and the hungry driver realizes his double cheeseburger was replaced with a fish sandwich, maybe we will start classifying the following killing spree as Fast Food Syndrome.

I’ve been there. One time a random McRib sandwich appeared in my bag. I wanted to smear that fake pork product all over the face of the idiot who gave it to me. Cooler heads prevailed.

Lives were saved. I could fall victim to Bluetooth Syndrome from the number of times strangers appear to be speaking with me and when I talk back, they turn their head to simultaneously give me a glimpse of their ear device as well as the dirty look they have shot back at me.

You know how many Van Gogh visions I have when that happens?

These syndromes could even have some gray areas in them. What about when some non-English speaking call center has kept me on the line for hours trying to fix a problem?

When Tim with the Indian accent tells me to erase my hard drive, who do I take my anger out on when I snap? Do I find a random Tim or even an unlucky Timothy near me? Do I take it out the next person who appears to hail from Mumbai?

What do I do when I’m stricken with Phone Rage?

People get angry. Sometimes it is from little things, and other times it is from big things. The vast majority of us handle the anger without killing people.

Those who kill people because the Krispy Kreme hot light is off didn’t do it due to Donut Syndrome. They do it because they have poor self-control. They aren’t victims, those are the people left in their wake.

Reach Scott at to lament about cold Krispy Kremes.

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