Time in fear

We get such precious little free time; it’s a shame we spend so much of it afraid. How many times have you cringed as the evening news anchor cleared his throat and began to read? Is it any wonder we aren’t collectively as a people all cowling behind the curtains in our living rooms yelling, make the bad news go away, someone please?  The effect of all that stress on our psyche is pretty evident given the fact we as a group are gulping down anti depressants and mood elevators by the buckets.  Whether it’s tainted peanut butter, the latest e-coli scare, infected lettuce or our daily dose of car, bus, train and plane explosions there is no end in sight of things to be afraid of.  Chalk some of it up to progress if you will. Five years ago no one bought their lettuce in a bag. And if you add to the chaos the fact that there are people who make their living out of scaring us; there’s no telling what will happen next.

No matter where we turn we are constantly reminded that what was good for us yesterday will surely be the key component in your demise today. The human body can’t take that kind of stress day in and day out without something cracking. But help is just a mouse click away, for If you Google, “living in fear,” you will have no shortage of internet sites to address you issues. At a minimum the list sports over 47,000,000 places to visit for help.  But we seem to all be worrying about the wrong things. Perhaps that is our safety mechanism to save our sanity. We prefer to worry about what probably won’t happen rather than worry about something that can; epiphany there? Think about it. We hear about an outbreak of SARS in Hong Kong and here in suburban Pittsburgh we start buying Kleenex and calling for Cipro!  While your chances of getting infected by this strain are practically nil, it somehow makes you feel better that you are at least aware it could happen to you.

But tell me, when was the last time you were worried about seat belt usage? Statistically almost all of us drive everyday and I can tell you 40 thousand people die each year in car accidents and hundreds more permanently injured. IF only they had been wearing their seatbelts! How about your blood pressure? In 2001 700,142 died of heart related diseases and it has only increased since then. So are you worried you should not be eating the extra double cheeseburger laced with bacon that rings in at 2,000 calories of steaming sizzling cholesterol carrying fat? Probably not and no, I’m not suggesting you need to be worried about more than you already are. What I am saying is we need to put fear in its right place. Not on the tips of our tongues.   

That crawler that runs across your TV screen non stop can do more to damage your blood pressure than that mosquito keeping you in the house for fear of catching West Nile.  So if I might say, calmly step away from the TV, put the remote down, turn the radio news talk show off and take a deep breath. We can get through this together if we just remember Chicken Little was a cartoon! Not a reporter for FOX news!

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