It helps sometimes, before you get seized by the clamour of things and the frenzies of the moment, to pause and consider if the matter at hand deserves your emotional energy. Most things don't. On any given day, news is a vacuum into which significance must be poured and if whatever's around isn't truly significant, then whatever's available must be made to seem significant.
The trick for us poor stumblebums on the receiving end of a torrent of hyperbole is to sort the wheat from the dross. In an angst-happy world, there's no point getting all het up and hot and bothered and ringing talkback to say we've had a gutsful until we've applied a simple test to see if whatever it is we're having a gutsful about actually deserves the abdominal distendation.
The quickest way to rank the constant furies is to use a Scale of Significance, a Faff Filter, if you will, let's say from 1 to 10, where 1 defines things that are really no more important than having helmet hair or unwittingly breaking wind in the produce section of the supermarket and 10 is reserved for those rare and awful things that do redefine our world.
Unlike people, all events are not created equal, as a quick paddle in the shallows of this week's sea of troubles should demonstrate.
The lemon-lipped are back again, demanding more curbs, controls and strictures. Students in Dunedin, hormonally charged and splendidly irresponsible, have been drinking too much and setting fire to sofas, apparently. This has agitated the temperant. And some nebulous gaggle of academics, full clamped to the gummint's teat in terms of funding, has jumped on the overcrowded ban wagon to demand that smoking outdoors is prohibited forthwith.
The boozy undergrads story is worth no more than 2 on the Faff Filter. But the smoking matter's more problematic; 2 because it's basically just more wowsers indulging their meddlesome impulses. Yet a 5 or 6, perhaps, inasmuch as it reveals again our unpleasant tendency to propose coercion as a first resort whenever we encounter some matter of concern.
The ivory towered - particularly those in public health - have itchy trigger fingers when it comes to prohibition. They're dangerously eager to pass laws against whatever they don't like. Try persuasion, you plonkers. Remember, Hitler was a non-smoker - and a vegetarian!!!
Beware the pious. They are the world's natural despots.
Speaking of which, across the ditch, Ruddy Kev's resigned - at least as Foreign Minister - and may even challenge Julia. Gadzooks! This must be a 10. No, just a 2 or 3. Nothing more. It's a sports story, that's all; who'll captain the team.
When all's bleed and won, the totally teetersome Australian gummint will either be led by a man who swears like a trooper or a lady who makes everyone else swear like a trooper whenever they hear her speak. Apparently, Asio uses tape recordings of her speeches to break particularly intransigent al Qaeda activists - "No! Stop! I"ll tell you where the Ureweras are! Just turn it off!!!!!!"
The Rudd/Gillard stoush is news that seems important but isn't. Not unlike the furore here about Tricky Trev flogging tickets on Trade Me. This is a story about character and, yes, Trevor's been hoisted by his own mallarde, but since we believe all politicians say one thing in public and do another in private, it merely reinforces our prejudices and adds nothing to our preconceptions.
So we come to the unspoken thing. The silence we shared at 12.51pm on Wednesday. This is how it must have been in 1919, on the first post-war Anzac Day. Except, then, there would have been even more grief and pain, more widely felt, more flowers in more rivers and many more names read out at the base of new memorials.
But each has the essence of the other. Each marks an encounter with the most raw and awful things. The thin salve of words were offered on Wednesday. And the full force of the news was brought to bear. The newsreaders were there, in front of broken places to emphasise their own importance.
And there were interviews - lots of interviews.
On Tuesday, before the speeches, some of those who'd come to remember spoke of their reasons for coming and what had happened a year before. One man was from the Philippines. His sister had died in the CTV building but nothing had been found to identify her or three other people also.
There was a funeral for those people this week and the man from the Philippines was here for that. He spoke - in a second language - of his love for his sister and of her kindness and how cruel it was that nothing remained to mark her time alive.
"I don't even have a hand to hold on to," he said.
"I don't even have a hand to hold on to to say goodbye."
Take that to your troubles and measure them against it. In those words and in that anguish, the real world lives.