There are some heavy things that people have to carry. Among them are things like sand and stones. I remember having to carry a pile of decorative stone from the front yard of a home all the way to the back yard. At first I thought the job was going to be easy. The stones were fairly large, but easy to carry at first. About the time I got to the middle of the pile the ease of carrying these stones began to go down. It was as if they were getting heavier all the time. You probably know that by the time I reached the bottom of the pile - the stones seemed really heavy. It became difficult to carry them to the back of the yard where they were going. One might say that they became quite a load. That is what Proverbs is saying to us about dealing with the fool.
The actions this Proverb speaks of are the "provocation" of a fool. Provocation is not exactly a word we use often in our society - it means to provoke someone. The Hebrew word is "kaas" and it means to cause vexation and anger. It is like someone poking you again and again until it provokes you to the point of being very angry. This word is even used to speak of how idolatry angers God and provokes Him to that anger and wrath.
The fool is the man who doesn't quite get it. He does something but doesn't understand the problems that his actions are causing. He not only does it once - but repeats it again and again. Elsewhere in the proverbs we are told that like a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool returns to his folly. Thus the actions that cause a problem, or the ones that provoke people to anger are repeated again and again. This can be maddening on a personal level - and it can be devastating on a societal one.
This is why we are told that it would almost be better to have to carry the weight of sand and stones rather than have to deal with a fool who is constantly provoking us to anger and frustration. This is also why the Word counsels us to refrain from "hanging around" fools. To do so is to eventually invite amazing levels of provocation into your life, which is not exactly something we are all dying to have every day.