by Rick Ackerman
Feeling depleted lately? More irritable? Plagued by screw-ups? Did the waitress get your order wrong? Forget to put a stamp on an important letter before you dropped it in the mailbox? I did. Even the Rick’s Picks chat room has been in an unusually agitated state. Genfer, our go-to guy with all the answers, exited in a huff on Friday, annoyed by the ugliness of a political discussion that he himself had provoked. Many in the room have commented on the stock market’s jittery angst, which has persisted not just for days or weeks, but for months. There’s an explanation for this, and it is not Mercury in retrograde. That won’t happen for another seven weeks. No, the problem lies not in our stars, but in a bilious, years-long election cycle that has rubbed us all raw. The effect, stoked by the news media’s shameful dereliction, has intensified over time, much in the way that sleep deprivation might slowly impair our ability to cope and make decisions.