The following (in no particular order, as Ant and Dec might say) have all had a bad week this week: Steve McLaren, the Celebrity jungle's Marc Bannerman, a junior official at a civil service office in Tyne and Wear, the head of Inland Revenue, Alistair Darling and Gordon Brown.
Between them they have lost (in descending order) a football match, a girlfriend, a package the boss told him to post, a top job in the Civil Service, the plot and the confidence of the nation.
Here's the thing we should keep in perspective, though. Worrying and unsettling though all this has been for some, nobody's actually died.
You would not guess it however, from some of the coverage particularly where the loss of two data discs and the football match were concerned. From some of the coverage you'd think this was Armageddon.
Ok, so I am probably dangerously and irresponsibly dismissive about these things. But I find it very hard to work myself into the same tizzy as the experts on the evening news about the fact that, since my details may be on a computer disc that's gone AWOL in the post, some Mr Big out there is even now stealing my identity.
The way I look at it is why would anyone want to steal my identity? Especially if he's got 25 million other indentities to choose from. One look in my bank account and I'm pretty sure the internet fraudsters of this world would realise my identity is not worth the disc it's copied on to ¿ But that has not stopped the 'experts' working themselves into meltdown on my behalf this week. Words like 'panic' and 'fearful' have been all over the reports. Small wide-eyed children have been trolleyed out on to the tea time news to exclaim that mummy and daddy's 'details' have gone missing.
I am not in any way setting out to condone or try to minimise the enormity of the government and Civil Service cack-handedness that has led to this week's hue and cry. But before we all change our names, retreat to the bunker in the hills, shut down all bank accounts and revert to the tried and tested measure of secreting any savings in the mattress, a few points to ponder.
Is there actually any evidence that the discs have fallen into The Wrong Hands? Since the police operation this week seems to have been focussed on the office from which the tapes were supposed to have been dispatched, this would suggest to me that's where they think the tapes still are.
The local constabulary spent several days going through the place like Aggie and Kim after a dust mite. They wouldn't be doing that if they had a strong suspicion Crime Inc had nicked them from the courier. And even if they were - what evidence is there that thieves would automatically recognise and more to the point have the capability to profit from the aforementioned 'details'? That they might simply have been misplaced may be a fairly unexciting explanation as to what happened to those discs.
But I wouldn't rule it out. I say this as someone who has years of expertise and experience in this area. To put it another way, I also have worked in offices.
And sometimes in offices things just get lost.
During stressful episodes in the past that I have been witness to, even whole human beings have disappeared without trace, only resurfacing later when the whole hoo-ha was over.
As I say, this is not an attempt to trivialise the enormity of official incompetence and carelessness. But we should keep a grip (unlike the English football commentators) and remember the difference between real and potential disaster.
The government that has presided over this week's loss of the 'details' of 25 million people was also the outfit in charge when real bank robbers walked into a real bank in Belfast and drove off with two lorry loads containing 26.5 million real pounds.
It was however both keen and able to successfully brush aside the political implications of that one.
There's little chance of Mr Brown similarly glossing over this week's loss. Identity theft sounds so much more frightening to 25 million potential victims that plain old bank robbery.
The devil, as they say, is in the details.
Coming home to roost
What a Christmas it is going to be for families in Cloughmills and in Moira where two factories - road haulage and chicken processing respectively - are shutting down.
The closure of the chicken plant is especially disturbing - even though we're assured the workers will be redeployed elsewhere.
We're told that one of the reasons for the shutdown is 'cheap imports'. Presumably that would be cheap imports of chicken.
How come we can import chickens more cheaply from the other side of the world than we can raise them here? What implications does this have for the rest of the agriculture industry?
And what precisely is the Assembly proposing to do about this?
Taking the right road
Good sense has prevailed in the controversy over a proposed loyalist band parade in Donegall Pass which had been labelled racist. Following a meeting with MLA Anna Lo, the organisers have called it off, pointing out that the intention was never to intimidate members of the Chinese community. It had been planned to protest about a band member's address being made public.
The organisers, though, have had the wit to see that there would have been no winners had the parade gone ahead. Not themselves - because they'd have been labelled racist - and not their local community.
Much credit is due to Belfast's Lord Mayor Jim Rodgers for helping to sort the situation.
For once an example of loyalist bandsmen refusing to walk down that traditional route - the one signposted 'PR Disaster'.
Santa dressed in green?
A school in Brighton has banned Santa from wearing red because they argue that's linked to "modern commercialism". Ironically this is announced by the school's 'business manager'. They've made him wear green instead. Smart move. Green is the new black. Suits you, Santa. The big commercial concerns, when they catch on, will just love it.
What's in a name?
Still on the missing discs - a caller to a radio show this week raised the scary scenario of how terrorists, having stolen a local person's identity, might use them during an attack in some far off, foreign place, maliciously leaving behind fraudulent documents that might incriminate the innocent citizen from Ulster.
This raised the disturbing spectre of Aggie McCatchity from Ballyonion being seized by Interpol as she sets off on the family holiday to Benidorm.
Whoever would have thought that claiming family allowance could have led to being framed on charges of international terrorism?
But joking aside there is a grain of sense in the hypotheses. I can think of at least one bearded gentleman in the Tora Bora region who would doubtless just love to get his hands on such discs.
Munchkins walk tall
Almost 70 years after they starred in the Wizard of Oz, the Munchkins have finally been honoured by the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The little stars of the classic movie were reported paid a pittance at the time - a fraction of what Tutu the dog got paid. But that didn't stop them living it up. On set there were lurid stories about wild sex parties and riotous drinking. Judy Garland once described how the Hollywood police used to chase some of the boozed up little people with butterfly nets.
Among those being honoured this week was a wee man who looked like an octogenarian Elton John. It's taken a long time for his particular yellow brick road to lead to that Walk of Fame.
Tinseltown would have recognised them all long before now. If it only had a heart ?