The mangy parrot

Sometimes when I’m a bit too stressed, usually facing some tough development challenge, I hurt myself out of frustration.

You know what web development is like, right? Every day, you go from complete exasperation to sheer happiness, and as soon as something seems solved, another tricky factor pops up.

Currently I have a “beard”, a goatee with the resources mother nature has given me. And as soon as I become too overwhelmed, or rather, very frustrated about what I’m working with, I start pulling hairs of my beard. It’s not really the pain, but it’s rather that I don’t know what to do with my hands; it seems cheaper than banging on a super-expensive computer.

The thing, though, is that my beard is so thin so if I pull some hairs of it out, very soon small bald patches will show. And if there’s a lot of work and stress going on, I soon look like a mangy parrot, you know, the poor kind that starts pulling its feathers out of being miserable.

What do you do?


  • icaaq says:

    I hear ya, I'm doing the same thing but my beard stays put..

  • You know what web development is like, right?

    Sure I do! I usually bite my nails until it hurts. It is a nasty habit I'd like to get rid of.

  • Something similar actually. πŸ™‚ I also use to have beard, since it grows like weed, on my chin in particular.

    When it really starts to go downwards, I scratch my chin. Hard as hell. During really hard days, one of those small vacuum cleaner gadgets would have come really handy if I only had owned one … ;p

  • Andreas says:

    I twist my hair whenever I think and at the end of the day I always have a few natural dreadlocks πŸ˜›

  • Dave says:

    Well, the majority of my frustration, or more, anger and resentment for MS stems from testing in IE, which, usually takes place on a windows box, in which case, I dont mind banging it to pieces!

  • katy lavallee says:

    That sounds like trichotillomania. I pull on my eyebrows and eyelashes. Over the years, I've gotten pretty good at stopping before I get bald patches, but you should see my driver's license photo… kinda scary.

  • Lim Chee Aun says:

    I got to say your recent blog posts are getting very creative. πŸ˜€

    As for me, I'll immediately take a short nap when I'm frustrated on my work. LOL.

  • Remy Sharp says:

    I used to punch the keyboard outright. It would normally jump up and down in despair. It was a crappy £5 keyboard, so it didn't matter much if it broke (not that the cheap ones ever did). I've learned to calm down over the years!

    Nowadays I tend to just string together a series of expletives until I feel the code has been appropriately abused and then crack back on with it.

  • Ceriak says:

    Stage One: swear like a trooper, in ornate Hungarian until I start repeat myself, and that drives me to

    Stage Two, where I start to hit the keyboard buttons as if it could solve the problem. Then comes

    Stage Three, psyche out, beating the table, which once, no doubt, will accepts its fate and collapse πŸ™‚

  • OJ says:

    None of the above. I get up, and go for a run. By the time I get back my head has cleared and my anger (well, more frustration than anger actually) has gone.

    By the time I've showered and sat down to take on the problem again, the answer becomes clear!


  • Steven Clark says:

    ha ha I've usually got a goatee and have the same problem… its almost masochistically enjoyable to sit in front of the tv pulling out hairs especially if there's an irritating pimple – get the white ends if you catch one of the offending ones.

    Sometimes I have to just bite the bullet and shave and start again.

    At the moment I've been on holiday for a month (or two) and have destressed significantly. Can't get around to shaving the full beard at all…

    so i know exactly where you're coming from robert πŸ™‚

  • Rowan Lewis says:


    I go about it by hitting the table and swearing loudly, or by suddenly getting up and walking around the room. Try listening to music, loudly, while you work. πŸ™‚

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Fantastic! I knew I wasn't the only one! πŸ™‚


    Thanks for teaching me the actual name of this behavior!

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