Sheer randomness is one of the strongest and most entertaining forces in the universe.

The journalist’s lot to try to make some sense of the chaos, and it is a fool’s errand. Technology helps but little, and the tradeoff is not worth it. Yes, more information is at your fingertips – hint: never trust Wikipedia for anything ever, and you’ll be ahead of the game – but that means the Internet can get to you to, despite your best efforts.

I know I read somewhere that email was on its last legs. Ha. The stuff just keeps coming, like a firehouse that grows a quarter-inch wider every day. And if you’re journalist, over time you get on the list of every practitioner of the dark arts of puffery and promotion.

Come to our three-day seminar and economic forecast – in California. Uh, sure.

Hey, demands the next one, is your resume up to snuff? What secret do your competitors know that you don’t? Dial into our webcast and find out about the six career-killing mistakes we all commit over morning coffee.

It’s endless. This group wants to save the planet. That group wants to save me from the people who want to save the planet. These folks think I should take a position on the euro. Or drilling for oil in Nova Scotia.

Everyone is working an angle. The business of journalism on dead trees was supposed to have gone out with the boom box and the Rubik’s Cube, but there sure are a lot of people still scrambling for a few precious column inches of this particular real estate.

And they know just how to get us. It’s the survey, preferably one that plays to our comfortable notions of how the world works. Midwesterners are harder working and more no-nonsense than, well, anyone. We know this, right? We need to be reminded, right?

So when survey – and I’m being generous in using that word – arrived the other day, why did I bother to read it? Because it’s catnip, that’s why.

More than half of Midwesterners say they are distracted by coworkers, four in 10 have dealt with email while on vacation, but only one in seven admits to calling in sick “to attend a live event.” One assumes work does not count as a live event.

Really, folks? Here’s the deal: Everyone’s coworkers make them crazy. That’s the nature of coworkers. Email, social media and other electronic trappings follow us everywhere. Don’t tell me it’s a story that it’s marginally better or worse here in the wholesome Midwest. We all know this, and you’re taking up my precious time.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have 200 more emails to attend to. Ooh, look. Cats playing billiards.

– Reach Jeff Fox at 816-350-6313 or jeff.fox@examiner.net.