Practical Lesson

A boy asks his father to explain the differences among irritation, aggravation, and frustration.

The Dad picked up the phone and dialed a number at random. When the phone was answered he asks, “Can I speak to Alf, please?”

To which the person on the other end of the line said, “No! There’s no one called Alf here.” Then, they hung up.

“That’s irritation,” said Dad.

Then he picked up the phone again and dialed the same number; once again asking for Alf a second time. This time the irate answerer replied, “No — there’s no one here called Alf. Go away. If you call again I’ll call the police.”

“That’s aggravation,” commented Dad.

“Then what’s ‘frustration’?” asked his son.

The father picked up the phone and dialed the same number a third time: “Hello, this is Alf. Have I received any phone calls?”