We worry about worrying about worrying

Published 9:04 am Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Column: Tales from Exit 22, by Al Batt

I drove into the garage, dreaming of a world where chickens could cross the road without having their motives questioned.

I’d just arrived home from a long trip.

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Just inside the house, there was a litter box where none had been before.

It seemed odd, because we didn’t have a cat. I thought maybe some of my wife’s relatives were visiting and the litter box was for handling the overflow.

I made my way to the basement and threw my dirty clothes near the hamper. It’s a guy thing.

There was another litter box in the basement.

I looked for in-laws. I checked their natural habitat — in front of the TV and near an open refrigerator.

I once walked the bank of a fast-flowing river. I worried as to how I could cross it. Spotting a fellow standing on the opposite bank, I yelled to him, “How do I get to the other side?” The guy looked up the river. He looked down the river. Then he yelled back, “You’re already on the other side.”

I hadn’t needed to worry.

My mother said that worry was like rocking in a chair. It gave you something to do, but it didn’t get you anywhere. We worry most about things that deserve it the least. Worry gives large muscles to the weakest of things.

That’s true, but it’s impossible not to worry.

Some people claim they don’t worry, but then some people claim to be able to forecast the weather. Work is always easier than worry.

At the county fair, a vendor tried to sell me a pillow. The best thing to sleep on is a clear conscience. But even with a clear conscience, we worry.

One day, I parked my car next to a car that was nothing but dents, rust, and duct tape. If I’d put a “Sorry for the damage” sign on its windshield, the owner wouldn’t have bothered looking for it. I don’t like parking next to vehicles in that condition, but there was no other space available. I worried that the driver wouldn’t be concerned about putting a door ding in a car parked next to him.

Most kids have parents who do their worrying for them.

Adults do their own worrying.

We worry that Anthony Weiner will text us.

We worry that band we detest might be getting back together.

We worry about road workers because they work on the road.

We worry that a Kardashian might be forced to get a job.

We worry that wind turbines are producing wind.

We worry that the things in the rearview mirror may be closer than they appear.

We worry that all the employees might not have washed their hands.

We worry that our taxes will go up. That’s a waste of time. They will.

We worry about what we might see if we get new eyeglasses.

We worry about our feelings toward the song “Feelings.”

We worry that the lack of hood ornaments is why the world is the way it is.

We worry that if the best things in life are free, why isn’t napping considered one of the best things in life?

We worry that a walk-in closet might walk in on us.

We worry about what the busy signal is doing to keep itself busy.

We worry that in 1969, we went to Woolstock, Iowa, instead of Woodstock.

We worry that today might be the tomorrow that yesterday warned us about.

We worry that speed has taken the place of planning.

A man and woman were married for many years. Whenever there was a confrontation, yelling could be heard by all the neighbors. The old man would shout, “When I die, I will dig my way out of the grave and come back and haunt you for the rest of your life!”

Neighbors feared him. The man liked being feared. To everyone’s relief, he died of a heart attack. His wife had a closed casket at the funeral. After the burial, her neighbors, concerned for her safety, asked, “Aren’t you afraid that he may be able to dig his way out of the grave and haunt you for the rest of your life?”

The wife said, “Let him dig. I had him buried upside down. And I know he won’t ask for directions.”

Good planning made for one less thing for the woman to worry about.

I needn’t have worried about the two litter boxes. We needed them.

We had two new cats.


Hartland resident Al Batt’s columns appear every Wednesday and Sunday.