Over the last few years we seem to have spent an unhealthy amount of time engaging in various different countdowns.
For much of the last 18 months the countdown was about Brexit. Then we had the countdown to the new decade.
Now we have the countdown to our February 8 election, the first Saturday polling day in a century. That decision was, according to Leo Varadkar, made so students would get a chance to go home and vote.
That was either a remarkable magnanimous gesture or a bafflingly self-defeating one - after all, given the mood of many students these days, few of them will be voting for Fine Gael.
But the campaign is only a week old and already it looks as if nearly every party is doing its level best to avoid victory. That would be a subconscious decision, of course.
After all, you wouldn't be much of a politician if you didn't have a burning desire for power.
But the error-strewn and gaffe-prone behaviour from some of our elected representatives seems to indicate most of them have employed the Keystone Cops as their campaign advisers.
The last 12 months have been notable for the almost heroic ways various politicians have tried to scupper their own chances.
From dodgy expenses to dodgy compo claims, and the inevitable tweets which have come back to haunt some of them, the average punter would be forgiven for assuming this campaign would be a rigid and stale affair, with all sides desperate to avoid the pratfalls of their opponents.
Instead, it now almost looks as if they're actually eager to shoot themselves in the foot.
Much has been made of the various slogans conjured by the main parties and they are all equally uninspiring.
Fine Gael's line 'A future to look forward to' is, to be charitable, clunky and badly written - an impressive accomplishment for a mere six words. But at least they actually bothered to come up with a new one.
That's more than can be said for Fianna Fáil's decision to stick with the same phrase they used in 2016: 'An Ireland for all.'
Laziness - or a simple lack of imagination?
In fairness, few can compare to Alan Kelly's refreshing 'Deliver MORE for Tipp', which includes upper case letters, an abbreviation of his county and the reminder that all politics is local - even when it's meant to be national.
They should all have decided to use the same slogan, 'It was just a joke!'
That has been the mantra coming from the two main parties in the last few days as both sides commit the most cardinal sin of all in politics - trying to be funny.
Politicians aren't funny people. If they were funny, they wouldn't have had to go into politics.
Fianna Fáil's TD for Cork East Kevin O'Keeffe somehow thought posing beside a stretch limo would have Twitter rolling in the aisles.
But just like politicians, Twitter doesn't really do humour and he was quickly inundated with hate-tweets telling him he was "out of touch".
His response? "I was just having a bit of fun. It was just a joke."
Mr O'Keeffe may just have invented a new rule for politicians - when you have to inform your constituents that you are not, actually, the proud owner of a stretch limousine then you're in trouble. After all, he's not Shane Ross, perhaps the only politician whose constituents would be surprised if they discovered that he didn't own one.
This came thick and fast on the heels of Fine Gael's bizarre and vaguely disturbing campaign video which saw a bunch of people put on Fianna Fáil masks and pretend to run around Dublin looking for ideas - while playing Benny Hill music in the background.
As quickly as it was put up, it was deleted. Their response? It was just a joke! But as they discovered to their cost, the woke don't joke.
It's not just the main parties, of course. Not to be outdone by the terrible outbreak of foot-in-mouth disease which has afflicted the big boys, Sinn Féin had to suspend their councillor, Paddy 'The Hooligan' Holohan for some rather ill-judged remarks.
His assertion that Leo Varadkar doesn't truly understand Ireland because of his background was deeply unfair to the people of Castleknock and anyone who gets the 39 bus.
Mary Lou stood beside him until it then emerged he had also made some scurrilous comments about certain types of young women.
His initially supportive party boss was forced to do a swift reverse ferret and suspend him from the party.
Lessons will be learned, she said. Presumably being more careful about picking someone who goes by the nickname 'The Hooligan' will be one of them.
But we haven't seen the last of 'The Hooligan'. His non-apology apology, which mentioned those who "may have been offended", was the mark of a natural politician.
Eamon Ryan then surprised absolutely nobody when he admitted: "I'll put my hands up.
"I flew to the Madrid climate conference in December."
In fairness, nobody assumed that he simply flapped his arms or used a hot air balloon fuelled by his own voice. But it was almost as if he actively wants people to accuse him of hypocrisy.
Similarly, his party's rising star Saoirse McHugh gave us a reminder of why so many environmentalists are often known as "watermelons" - green on the outside and red all the way through.
Her recent attack on the evils of capitalism and description of the Soviet Union and other communist regimes as merely "countries which were under a different economic system", was an interesting interpretation, but unlikely to play well with those who remember the horrors of the USSR.
There is an air of despondency in this country, between health, housing and crime.
But with three weeks to go for the election, we can rely on politicians to continue providing some grim amusement.