Do you have Suresh syn­drome?

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There is (as far as I know) no spe­cific syn­drome named af­ter me and for some rea­son I find that de­press­ing. I mean, to go through life with­out hav­ing any­thing named af­ter you ex­cept your son is dis­heart­en­ing. I once brought it up at a con­ven­tion of psy­chi­a­trists, the folk who iden­tify more syn­dromes (and name them) than ei­ther sci­en­tists or econ­o­mists. I was sub­jected to the Psy­chi­a­trists’ Syn­drome, which is where a group of them sud­denly laughs out loud for no ap­par­ent rea­son at all when they hear some­thing I say.

Syn­dromes have been named af­ter such dis­tin­guished peo­ple as Messrs Bar­rett and Conn, Ulysses and Froin. Mr Carpal Tun­nel has one all to him­self. Those suf­fer­ing from the Dr Strangelove Syn­drome be­lieve that their hands have a life of their own and do things in­de­pen­dently with­out their knowl­edge. Now that might have been a good syn­drome to af­fix my name to, ex­cept that I have the re­verse con­di­tion – my hands seem to have no life at all as a dead­line ap­proaches. Some­times I have to use my nose to work the key­board.

Still, for the ben­e­fit of the com­mu­nity, I of­fer the fol­low­ing strains of be­hav­iour unique to my­self for the syn­drome-nam­ing com­mit­tee:

The habit of keep­ing im­por­tant pa­pers in a safe place and then for­get­ting where that safe place is, or los­ing the safe place al­to­gether.

The ir­ri­tat­ing man­ner in which some­one ad­dresses a per­son he meets at a party by the name of the per­son he was in­tro­duced to a minute ear­lier.

A med­i­cal con­di­tion where you drag your protest­ing fam­ily to the air­port five hours be­fore a flight in the be­lief that roads might be closed, it might snow in ar­eas that have seen no snow in a mil­len­nium or that the pres­i­dent of the US might make a se­cret visit to your city, thus mak­ing it im­pos­si­ble to get past the se­cu­rity in time for the flight.

The un­con­trol­lable urge to cor­rect other peo­ple’s gram­mar and thus ruin jokes that have un­ex­pected punch­lines.

The ir­ra­tional be­lief that if you stare at a news­pa­per long enough, the news will rear­range it­self so that any story be­gin­ning with the words ‘Kar­dashian’ or ‘Paris Hil­ton’ will dis­ap­pear to be re­placed by gen­uine news.

A con­di­tion pe­cu­liar to columnists who want to say, ‘I told you so’, but search for a va­ri­ety of dif­fer­ent ways of say­ing it so read­ers will not ac­cuse them of pat­ting their own backs.

A rare con­di­tion char­ac­terised by the need to tell peo­ple that you have met Nel­son Man­dela.

If noth­ing works, there is al­ways this pos­si­bil­ity: The psy­cho­log­i­cal con­di­tion that urges the af­flicted to write about want­ing to name a syn­drome af­ter him­self.

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