• Kind of what it was like to put together Best of Chicago.

This past weekend, I was surprised by the number of people who complimented me on the Reader‘s 2012 Best of Chicago issue. I wasn’t surprised that we did a good job with it—I believe we do that weekly—but rather by how much people seemed to like it. And then I grew dismayed, because I realized that we would have to do it again.

I’m sure that local readers love reading the Best of Chicago issue, but it’s a complete nightmare for us to put together. Especially this year, when our art director’s daughter decided to arrive two weeks prior to her due date. Thanks, Harper: you’ll probably end up being a pretty cool gal, but behind my smile and warm greetings will be some semblance of the mind of a serial killer. And thank you readers for two straight weeks of 12-hour workdays, wherein I spent much of my time uploading blurbs into the back end of our website. It was a blast, and by “blast” I mean “near-nervous breakdown.”

And since we just had the best time last week, it’s natural that for this week’s Variations on a Theme we let out all our pent-up aggression. So welcome to Worst Week on the Bleader, where we explore all the different ways something can be on the extreme end of incompetence, irritation, and ignobility.