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Columnist on the Complexity of Modern Life

Wall Street Journal columnist Joe Queenan recently (2016) made some funny comments on the complexity and information overload of modern life:

I bought a sinus rinse the other day. Just a basic, no-frills sinus rinse. In making this purchase, I thought that rinsing my sinuses would be a fairly straightforward operation. Boy, was I ever wrong. For starters, there was the packaging. Colorful diagrams and instructions festooned the sinus-rinse box, including a long list of the 10 "advantages" of using this particular nasal spray. For example, the nozzle on the "easy-squeeze" plastic bottle fits any nasal opening whatsoever. Very important detail for people with virtually invisible nostrils.
But the sinus rinse makers were just getting warmed up. Inside the box I found a 32-page manual with an introduction, testimonials from physicians and customers, warnings about mishandling the device, a full page of instructions for cleaning and disinfecting the unit, and four pages of answers to frequently asked questions about sinus rinses.
The manual contained tens of thousands of words, all in tiny, tiny print. It did not explain how to launch an intercontinental ballistic missile or how to address the queen when being admitted to the Order of the Garter. No, it just dealt with the whys and wherefores of using a sinus rinse. It went on and on and on.
American society suffers from a plague of things that [are far too complicated].

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