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Worry, worry, toil and trouble; we're all troubled - Odessa American: Ken Brodnax

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Worry, worry, toil and trouble; we're all troubled

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Posted: Wednesday, May 5, 2010 12:00 am

No wonder it’s so easy to become a worrier. There are just too many things out there not to worry.

But maybe we should fret about people who become obsessed with all those things they really can’t control.

Let us count the recent events that are distressing, yet pretty much unavoidable.

Consider the volcano that occasionally belches ash that has disrupted air travel and caused a financial crisis and considerable inconvenience to millions of passengers.

You can’t reason with a volcano, so what are we to do about this crisis, other than lose sleep over the mess? Should some United Nations council or coalition of governments explore scientific ways to muzzle this freak of nature, just in case something similar happens later?

And, oh yeah, we’ve got that troublesome Gulf oil spill. You can’t blame the folks who are frazzled over what the spill might mean to the ocean ecology and the shoreline economies where much of the slick will end up fouling beaches.

But will those concerns help find ways to minimize the damage? While there are tools and procedures that can help deal with the impact, it’s still a situation that’s out of control. So worrying really doesn’t help at all.

Then there’s the unsuccessful car bomb that was intended to cause death and destruction in New York’s Times Square. The evil intent was bungled, but now millions are sweating the thought that other such attacks may be on the way. But what does that produce, other than to raise the general anxiety level?

It seems there always are lots of natural disasters to deal with — a number of devastating earthquakes and the usual tornadoes and flooding — that have caused massive loss of life and incredible destruction. Still, will worrying in the aftermath make a difference? Don’t think so.

Meanwhile, we have politics to get people all riled up. And this is a constant because, no matter which ideology is in charge, the other side is going to capitalize by conjuring up all the bad things that might happen. Democrats painted George W. as the great evil, but now just can’t imagine that the Republicans would return the favor by demonizing Barack Obama. If you don’t think politicians will use fear and worry to score opinion poll points, think again.

But when you get right down to it, worry falls into two distinct categories — fear of what might happen in the future or fear over what already has happened.

Well, what might happen also might not happen. And the ship has sailed on what already has occurred.

So it’s pretty easy to see that worry doesn’t add a whole lot to either scenario. It’s kind of a waste of time and energy.

With all that said, the rest of us reasonably reasonable folks probably need to worry about all those worriers out there.

Or we could just subscribe to the philosophy of that great and fictional American, Alfred E. Neumann of Mad Magazine fame. His motto was, “What, me worry?”

But then, you really have to worry about people who think like that.

Odessa, TX

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