“Most of what you worry about never really happens.”
My father was an ardent believer in that frequently repeated quote, but he took it one step further.
If most of the things we worry about never happen, he reasoned, this must mean that only the things you don’t worry about actually occur.
Makes sense so far, but he went on.
This makes it essential to worry about absolutely everything. If you omit any possible worry, that’s the one thing that will invariably go wrong.
It isn’t easy to worry about everything no matter how skilled a worrier you are. It’s a heavy responsibility.
Dad used to extend the worry even to my mother’s rolls baking on Saturday morning. His usual form was, “You know, it doesn’t seem as if they are raising the way they should.”
The trouble is, his record was very good. Hardly anything he worried about happened, and so I adopted his philosophy for my own and became a skilled, you might almost say professional, worrier.
Take the Seahawks, for instance. I am betting that since you’re reading this column on this particular Sunday morning, football is not a big part of your life. I’m further thinking that probably for you, the sea hawk is a mythical creature who never really got off the ground.
I believe this because if football were a big part of your life, you’d be rushing around mashing avocados for dip to serve at your big Super Bowl party like everybody else.
This means you have not worried about the Seahawks. So, in a sense, if they have not become the Super Bowl Champions, it’s your fault. If they have, somebody else worried for you. (If you’re reading this before the game, it’s not too late to start worrying if you do it efficiently.)
I wish to note that worry in no way takes the place of prayer. They’re two different things.
If the Super Bowl is over, with the holidays over and the decorations are taken down, that frees up a lot of time for recreational worrying. Income taxes, for instance, how long the geriatric head gasket on my car will last, when I’ll be flying back to Minnesota to visit my grandsons.
I’ve often thought that most air travelers never properly appreciate the fact that today’s fine air safety record is entirely attributable to people like me who sit white knuckled through every flight, worrying every minute. “Will we crash?” “Should the engine be making that noise?” “Do the flight attendants look nervous?” And it works. Air travel is the safest it’s ever been.
Then, there’s Valentine’s Day.
If the Seahawks are at the forefront of my heart, Valentine’s Day is way down in the hamster cage. As far as I’m concerned, Cupid can tuck his plump little parts into his clothes, get dressed and go home.
I’m worried about the mean spirited nature of the day. Many of the supposed romantic cards are downright mean.
Mostly I worry that I’m not going to get any valentines. I sort of miss the days when the kids pasted those little candy conversation hearts around a cardboard square to make a picture frame valentine. Those conversation hearts have been around since the Civil War. They have a shelf life of five years. At least. New phrases are added every year, they say. Last year's new sayings featured food-inspired phrases, such as “Recipe 4 Love,” “Table 4 Two” and “Top Chef.” I certainly worry about that.
According to the National Retail Federation, two-thirds of men purchasing flowers for Valentine’s Day do so to send flowers to their significant other, and a third of men do so to send flowers to their mothers. So if my math is right, 1¼ of my sons are planning to send me flowers. I can hardly wait.
So I haven’t worried about worrying. Everyone needs a hobby and I’ve been pleased by the results. But then I read that worry is bad for you. According to AgingCare.com, excessive worrying can be responsible for a long list of severe health problems, including weakening of the immune system panic attacks, irritable bowel syndrome and much more.
Could Dad have been wrong? Do I worry too much. That worries me.