I don’t want to come across like a moan, but...

My new watch should come with a set of ear plugs.
My new watch should come with a set of ear plugs.

I got a new watch from my wife for Christmas and it’s made me sound like a right moan.

It is the second most amazing watch I’ve ever been bought, but there’s one slight problem.

It has a very loud tick.

Now how do you tell someone that a watch they’ve bought you is perfect in every way apart from its noisy ticking mechanism?

When I wear the watch to bed, in the silence of the night, it sounds like a ticking time bomb ready to explode. When I’m listening to music I think someone has added extra percussion to my favourite songs.

I finally plucked up the courage to broach the subject with Karen, and to my surprise she agreed that the tick was indeed strangely loud. Even though we both concur the watch is noisy, it doesn’t make either of us sound like any less of an old grouch when we bring it up.

It’s just one of those things, like saying you’re tired, that you cannot utter without sounding like the world’s biggest moan. Even if you genuinely have only had about three hours sleep, as soon as you say to someone, “I’m so tired. I’ve only had about three hours sleep”, you might as well follow it up by saying, “Moan, moan, moan”.

Although I’m guilty of it myself, one of the most depressing moans you’re likely to hear is someone saying they’re overworked. It’s nearly as boring as people who moan about having a complicated love life. What they’re really doing is boasting at the expense of people who have no love life at all. In much the same way people who go on about being overworked are mocking the unemployed.

Inevitably when people start complaining about having too much to do in work, it’s only a matter of time before the ‘s’ word comes into the conversation.

How are we supposed to take stress seriously when stress balls are sold as novelty gifts rather than distributed at one’s local pharmacy via doctor’s prescription?

The story of the boy who cried wolf could easily be re-written as a modern day fable with the boy falsely claiming to be suffering from stress on numerous occasions up until the point where no one believes him any more and he ends up disembowelling a wolf and clothing himself in its skin as he goes on a sheep-worrying spree.

I’m not saying stress doesn’t exist, nor am I claiming vast amounts of it can it results in wolf-slaughtering and sheep-bothering, but what I will say about stress is, I can’t be the only one who’s sceptical as to its validity in many cases.

The problem could be that people use the word ‘stress’ too often. When mildly overworked, people will say they’re stressed, when motorists get stuck in traffic they say they’re stressed, when forced to make a decision as to what to order from the takeaway people will say they’re stressed.

The key is the difference between ‘being stressed’ and ‘suffering from stress’. Someone who says they’re “stressed out” is generally just looking for a bit of attention, while those who claim to be “suffering from stress” are generally looking for a few months off work.

But enough about stress, it’s starting to get me very tense.

When it comes to work, I’m no different to anyone else. Most days I’m left counting down the seconds until the end of the working day. But thanks to my watch I do it more loudly than everyone else.