It's the manifestation of a residual fear woven intricately into the Irish psyche.
That is of course the post-Leaving Cert dream that can trouble people in times of stress throughout their lives.
After today a new version of this anxiety is likely to haunt the Government for some time to come.
Ironically, following a summer of no little political chaos, the handling of the potentially problematic Leaving Certificate was initially deemed a major success.
Such was the rising sense of paranoia in Government at the time that some within its ranks were privately predicting that a bad Leaving Cert results process could bring the administration to a premature end.
However, Norma Foley, the first time TD and new Education Minister, had managed to shepherd through a uniquely calculated grades system born out of the pandemic.
Last Tuesday night though, a glitch was discovered. The facts would only emerge publicly this morning in the Dáil, some seven days later.
Suddenly, the Government's success story was no longer a straightforward narrative.
Two software coding errors means around 6,500 students were awarded a lower grade than they ought to have received.
Some of these students are in line to get offers of college courses they looked to have missed out on in recent weeks.
Already the Taoiseach has said the students must be assisted in every way by colleges to ensure they are not disadvantaged.
There was a pledge too from the Education Minister that no student will suffer.
While this will put pressure on colleges, the numbers involved could ultimately end up somewhere in the region of what the normal appeals process would throw up in a regular year.
Thus it would be manageable, well that's what the Government hopes at least.
In the meantime, there will be much analysis of just what went wrong with what Norma Foley described as an "extraordinary measure for an extraordinary time".
The code fell down on two fronts when it came to weighing data from students' Junior Certificates. These were used as a measure when compiling this year's Leaving Certificate results.
Out of 50,000 lines of code there was a misread in one of them because students' strongest non-core Junior Certificate subjects, rather than their weakest, should have been taken into account.
A further fault arose around the non-disregarding of the subject pertinently named Civic, Social and Political Education.
Indeed, depending on how all this ends, the handling of this crisis could well form part of the future Political Education syllabus.
In a frank assessment this afternoon of what went went wrong, Norma Foley acknowledged this will cause distress for students who thought this chapter had concluded.
For this Government too it seems there are no neat chapter endings.