What do you worry about?
1. Leaky gut syndrome
2. Unsightly cellulite
3. Earwax removal
5. Daylight-saving time
6. Hair loss
7. Main Street vs. Wall Street
9. Everlasting Perdition
10. Anything will do
Everybody is worried about something. One good thing is that hardly anyone is worried anymore about their New Year's resolutions. Some of us can't even remember what we resolved.
I'm not sure that I worried any less when I wasn't watching television, but I worried differently. For several years I didn't watch much television, but then I started to miss it, and I signed up for cable with Keene Valley Video.
I was sitting in my living room watching "Breakfast at Tiffany's" when I heard someone yelling my name outside on state Route 73. I opened the front door and there was my friend Peg in her van, holding up traffic.
"Hey, Martha! Are you watching television in there?"
"Hi Peg! Yes, I just got cable!"
Isn't it great to live in a small town?
That was about 10 years ago, and since that time my quality of worrying has improved. It has become more organized. Television tells me what to worry about, and encapsulates great swaths of worrisome material into easy-to-remember units, like for example Leaky Gut Syndrome.
I would never have known the term "marionette lines" if not for morning television. Marionette lines - like the ones Howdy Doody and Phineas T. Bluster had on either side of their mouths - are right up there on my worry list now. For me, and for anyone else who actually remembers Howdy Doody and Phineas T. Bluster, time is relentlessly etching gullies deep into our face, in the same way raging rivers carve channels through rock over the millennia.
I don't like to say this, but I think people out there in Television Land are cynically brainstorming ways to worry us all sick, so they can sell us products we don't need.
Are your family's clothes bright enough? White enough? Do you have debilitating belly fat? Are you dying of some strange and dreadful disease? Do you have marionette lines?
Are you sure?
I suspect the tobacco companies are behind the quit-smoking ads aimed at smokers who are perpetually trying to quit. Just talking about how evil and disgusting cigarettes are is enough to start addicts jonesing. Perverse but true. Every time one of those anti-smoking ads airs, people all over town are jumping into their cars and speeding off to Stewarts, the only place around here you can buy tobacco at night.
People are afraid to eat, because the experts keep changing the foods that are good for us.
Are eggs in or out? Margarine, once considered more healthful than butter, is now bad: trans-fat. Lard is presumably Ok. Olive oil is better. Red wine, part of the Mediterranen diet, is good for your heart, but-- that's enough--only in disappointingly small doses. And, unfairly, men can have more than women. there is a whole supermarket aisle devoted to bottled water. But why take it on faith that the water in those bottles is any purer than the water that comes out of our tap? We live in the Adirondacks.
"They test it," you say. Who are "they"? Are you sure? This might be something to worry about if your list is getting shorter.
Some people I know have pretty much stopped eating at all. They just jog along taking swigs from their water bottles.
Like junk food and cigarettes, worry can be addictive. If one problem is solved, there is always something else ready to take its place. Are Honey Boo Boo and the teens in "Buck Wild" insulting to us rural folk?
People are always worrying that other people will stop reading books. Phone books are for fogies.
If you feel you have to worry, better to concentrate on cellulite than something even more depressing.
On the other hand, some people clearly don't worry enough, like my friend Adele, who doesn't work--she just arranges lucky knick-knacks around her house in accordance with Feng Shui principles in order to bring in money and suitable life partners. She augments her luck with internet chain letters, which keep her pretty busy. Soon, she says, she's going to take up one of those on-line jobs stuffing envelopes, earning thousands of dollars each day working out of her own house in her underwear.
What, me worry?
Have a good week.