If worrying were an Olympic sport, I’d have a good shot at the gold medal. I worry a lot, not just about reasonable or feasible misfortunes, but also about random or weirdly unlikely possibilities.
For example, does the turkey vulture that has been perched in a dead tree in my yard know something I don’t? Every time I go out the door, there he is; staring at me with that, “Pass the gravy” look in his beady little eyes. This prompts me to loudly announce, “Boy, I am feeling fit as a fiddle today!” or “My flesh is old and tough and full of gristle.”
Here’s another worry I lost sleep over one restless night, right after I’d ordered tickets to the symphony orchestra. I worried that while I was in attendance, the string on one of the violins might snap and whip the temple of the first chair clarinetists in the next row, rendering him unconscious. Then the conductor might turn to the audience and say, “Is there a clarinetist in the house?” Someone will point me out as a former member of the middle school band of 1965 and I’ll feel obligated to step forward and save the day.
Unfortunately, the only songs I remember how to play are “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” and “The Little Brown Jug.” So I’ll just play those over and over while the rest of the orchestra is playing classical concertos. Eventually the conductor will catch on and throw me off the stage in disgrace. Oh, the humiliation! I’d never live it down.
Also I worry that scientists will succeed in their quest to develop a method of making skin temporarily transparent. I read about it in the newspaper. It said if they succeed, it will lead to better, less invasive medical diagnoses and therapy. What if they perfect the technique and total strangers are able to peer right through our skin into our bodies?
As if there were not enough maintenance and grooming involved in making ourselves presentable to the public, we’ll have to make sure our insides look as good as our outsides. Will I have to floss the plaque in my arteries as well as the plaque between my teeth? When I get dressed up for a night on the town, will I have to dye my gall bladder to match my shoes and purse? What if I run into the leader of my weight loss group and she clearly sees that the contents of my stomach consist solely of an entire bag of chocolate-covered peanuts?
Here’s a real big worry that kept me awake for several nights. I once went to a funeral dinner at a Catholic church during Lent. The church had two buffet lines set up. One offered no meat in deference to practicing Catholics who abstain from meat during Lent. I’m not Catholic, so I was in the other line.
I said to one of the guests in the other line. “Ha, ha,” I said, “We get meat and you don’t.”
He laughed and responded, “Yes, but you get cold cut sandwiches and we get lobster, shrimp, and a very nice assortment of pasta entrees.”
After a moment’s thought, I genuflected, gave the sign of the cross, and said, “Holy Mary, Mother of God, I’ve been saved! Pass the shrimp!”
Now I worry that I could go to Hell for faking rememption in the name of seafood.
I hate to give up worrying, since I’m so good at it. Maybe there’s money to be made. Writing isn’t a lucrative business, except for a very few. Most of us are not in it for the money, but because we feel compelled to put our thoughts down on paper.
I firmly believe that if I were unable to put my thoughts (absurd though they may be) on paper, my head just may explode like the time Mom was making dinner in the pressure cooker and it exploded, spewing split pea soup all over the kitchen. There go my thoughts and my unused words. Look, there is the word ‘fiduciary,’ slipping slowly down the refrigerator door, as ‘tatterdemalion’ falls in syllabled droplets from the ceiling fixture like rust-tainted water from the leaky, pitted faucet in a cheap motel. What a waste of wonderful words, as well as Mom’s delicious split pea soup.
I once heard a radio ad stating, “If worry is causing you distress, call our hotline by dialing…” and here is where they instructed us worriers to dial the corresponding numbers for the spelling of the word “anxiety.” I’m not a great speller. After 5 or 6 failed attempts at correctly spelling the word “anxiety” on my phone, I gave up and curled into a corner in a fetal position.
Since I am so good at worrying, I might as well make a few bucks from it. Here’s my sales pitch. Tell me what you think.
Is stress over a family problem causing you anxiety, damaging your health, or keeping you awake at night? Turn your worries over to an expert. For only $100 I’m offering the “worrier’s economy package,” which entitles you to 24 hours of my deep sighing, hand-wringing, and irritability, punctuated by outbursts of irrational anger. This will include at least one episode of lashing out at my husband for no reason (one profane reference at no extra charge), which will result in one of us sleeping on the couch for one night.
For the $200 “worrier’s intermediate package,” I’ll give you at least two nights of my insomnia, one tension headache, and assorted digestive problems. There may be an additional charge for my purchase of over-the-counter antacids.
The $300 “worrier’s coronary package” includes my untreated hypertension, lower back pain, a migraine, and one trip to the emergency room for severe chest pain and shortness of breath. Any diagnostic testing which is not covered by my insurance is, of course, extra.
This week only I’m offering a 10% discount on any package for worrying about missed curfews by rebellious teens. Next week I’ll be having a two-for-one special on suspected infidelity by a spouse. Let me handle all your worries. Call now; operators are standing by.