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Friday, January 22, 2010

Are we scared to death yet?

Obviously not... but there is a case to be made.

When I grew up, I was frightened by the average things that frighten a young boy:
  • Step on a crack, break your mother's back.
  • Polio... what if I get it and have to spend the rest of my life in an iron lung?
  • Those two kids down the street who beat me up and took my school lunch money... honest.
  • That really cute girl.
  • Atomic bomb practice-- ("Everyone under your desks, cover your head and DO NOT look towards the windows.")
  • My mother when I made her mad.
Then I got bigger and I was frightened by:
  • Puberty. 
  • That really cute girl.
  • Pimples and ring worm (got it)... and cooties.
  • Being accepted.
  • Being drafted and getting killed in the war.
  • Dying.
Then I fell in love and got married, bringing new fears:
  • Does she love me?
  • Will my kids be ok?
  • How will we ever have enough money to send them to college?
  • Will I ever have the luxury of an erection lasting more than 4 hours?
  • Divorce. 
  • That really cute girl.
Now I am fully mature (by most judgments, not including my wife's), and I have come to the understanding that almost all of those past worries didn't come to pass. I (we) tend to over worry everything, humans that we are. Today, we have digitized the full scope of all that we can and do worry about. And it makes me wonder if there actually are more worries or if we have just learned, with the help of the media, that we do have the capacity to worry more... and have found new things to worry about:
  • Cancer, crime, Y2K, terrorists, homosexuals, heterosexuals, republicans, democrats, smoking-- or not, yellow teeth, global warming, biological warfare, nuclear destruction, not having enough friends on Facebook, Tiger Woods, Octomom, money, Jenn (ever since Brad left her, she has been on our minds), money, jobs, health care, bombs in underpants, money, crooked politicians, pandering politicians, elected officials who care more about their wants than ours, flu, China, the fog on Interstate 80 somewhere in America (thanks Weather Channel), pork (the Washington kind, not the eating kind, though we worry about that too--Is it cooked enough or will we get Salmonella?), money, inflation, depression (economic and mental), etc.
It is us lucky ones that seem to have become the hopeless... the despondent... the glum. There are people who have major league worries, like staying alive, finding water to drink that doesn't make you sick, making an honest or dishonest dollar (literally, $1) to feed your family, earthquakes, tsunami's, hurricanes, failing health, joblessness, homelessness...

We more fortunate do have worries, real and imagined, that seems to dominate more of our lives and minds than our blessings, our opportunities, our optimism. Where is that 'we can do it, we will overcome, we can rise to any challenge' mentality? Have we become a "glass half empty" nation of cynics? I hope not. I hope not. Enough bitching. Time to 'suck it up!' We have not been gifted with blessings just to squander them mindlessly dithering.

1 comment:

  1. Touche! I feel that my past, relatively minor misfortunes are overshadowed, by my reasonably decent health, if I don't look too closely, my monthly savings deposit, if I don't count it up, and my close, exceptionally valuable friends, if I don't drive them away. Yes, my glass is "half full"!