There's such a thing as too much Hunter

Posted by Fred Frailey
on Thursday, October 12, 2017
Is anyone else suffering from a depressive condition outlined in this month's edition of the New England Journal of Medicine? It's called Hunter Fatigue. Researchers found that it affects railroaders in general but in particular railroaders or friends of railroads with a low anxiety tolerance. Symptoms include sweating, bed wetting, temper tantrums, vomiting, sexual dysfunction, loss of vision, speech and appetite induced by reading of or talking about the doings of E. Hunter Harrison, chief executive of CSX, described as one of the largest railroads in the eastern U.S. The paper goes on to say that the American Institute of Psychiatry will vote soon on whether to include Hunter Fatigue among those mental illnesses whose treatment is deserving of insurance reimbursement. I read the piece and felt immediate relief from the depression that has dogged me for several years, but most of all since early 2017. Several friends have mentioned this medical paper to me, saying it left them feeling they were not out there (in the words of one acquaintance) "circling the loony bin by myself."

Luckily, a couple of low cost remedies are identified in the medical paper. One is cold-turkey withdrawal. The researchers suggest that by averting your eyes and attention from the words HUNTER, HARRISON, CSX, PRECISION SCHEDULED RAILROADING or F---UP when encountered in any environment will prevent a rapid escalation of your pulse rate and blood pressure and lower your cholesterol counts. But if you do not possess that degree of self-control, they go on to say, a similar lowering of anxiety and its associated symptoms can be achieved by rapidly ingesting six ounces of the following medicines, chilled: Dripping Springs Gin, Titos Vodka, Dewars Scotch. All are available over the counter***. The article goes on to say that research in Germany and New Zealand supports long solitary walks as a palliative to Hunter Fatigue.

But here's the rub: The NEJM researchers says there is no known cure for this malady. No matter your certainty that Hunter Harrison is killing railroads as we know them, contrary evidence keeps popping up that appears to insure that Hunter Fatigue will continue unless treated. This is because Mr. Harrison appears to strangely leave railroads in better condition than when he found them. They cite first of all Illinois Central, which was snapped up by Canadian National after Mr. Harrison's tenure lowered its costs and its operating ratio from nearly 90 (near bankrupt) to barely above 60 (wickedly profitable). Coincident with the purchase of Illinois Central, the article reports, Mr. Harrison was employed to run CN. After Mr. Harrison left Canadian National, the article goes on to say, the railroad became the most successful (by almost any yardstick) and fastest growing in North America. His recent stint prior to CSX, at Canadian Pacific, appears to show signs of a similar post-Hunter surge, the article reports. The bottom line, they report, is that no matter how certain you are that Mr. Harrison should be lined up against a wall, blindfolded and tickled for hours with goose feathers just out of his reach, the more the nagging doubt that he might actually know something important, thereby keeping you in torment, which is to say, Hunter Anxiety.

***Titos and Dewars can be purchased at most reputable alcoholic establishments (proof of age required). Dripping Springs is available in Texas and at select retailers nationwide.

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