Everybody knows somebody somewhere who doesn’t worry about worrying too much.
Not worrying about anything — or, more realistically, very little — is everything nowadays when it comes to leading the pack in this wild and crazy world.
It’s a great gift, for sure, to be able to go through life and not fall to pieces at the drop of a hat.
Ask all those worry warts out there wishing they had the gift — including me, a guy who’s always been the King of Useless Worry.
Now, let’s be perfectly clear about something. Most of those things that folks are fretting over all the time never ever happen.
In fact, Don Joseph Goewey — the celebrated author of “The End of Stress: Four Steps to Rewire your Brain” — claims that a study conducted just a few years ago proved beyond a doubt that 85 percent of our worries, in the end, amount to absolutely nothing. They’re wasted energy.
That’s some mighty good information to know. But, it still won’t keep me from worrying that the researchers could have made some kind of mistake in their study.
Useless worry is not a good thing. It’s also hard to shake once it gets into your head.
My old college roommate was the non-worrier in my life who tried his best to break me of the bad habit of worrying too much.
A friend for life, he had the same name as a popular television and movie star of the 1960s and 1970s — Brian Keith.
Remember Uncle Bill on TV’s “Family Affair”?
Brian, a native of Cincinnati, joined the Army after high school and served two years with the Screaming Eagles of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) at nearby Fort Campbell.
After he got out of the service in 1977, he enrolled at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, where he later shared an off-campus apartment with me during a time when Stevie Wonder’s “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing” was still getting regular airplay on the radio.
Brian really took that classic song to heart, and it made him different from most of the other students on campus. Maybe it was his Army training, but the word “worry” was not in his vocabulary.
He didn’t worry about money. He didn’t worry about his grades. He didn’t even worry about his love life and the possibility of being turned down for a date on a Saturday night.
As for me, there was no way to get through any day without giving my worry beads a good workout. Not surprisingly, my hair started turning gray during those carefree college days.
Brian’s reaction to my frequent tizzies was always the same. He would look at me and ask, “Why worry?” Then, he would let out a hearty laugh and launch into his favorite Irish proverb.
It was penned by an anonymous author and — with a few liberties — goes something like this:
“There are only two things to worry about, either you are well or you are sick. If you are well, then there is nothing to worry about.
If you are sick, there are two things to worry about, either you will get well or you will die. If you get well, there is nothing to worry about.
If you die, there are two things to worry about, either you will go to heaven or hell.
If you go to heaven, there is nothing to worry about.
But if you go to hell, you will be so bloomin’ busy shaking hands with your friends that you won’t have time to WORRY!”
All these years later, Brian remains a happy-go-lucky fellow with few worries while that worrier he tried to reform — ME — still hasn’t let go of his worry beads.
So, what’s my pal Brian up to these days?
Don’t worry about him.
He lives in a big house in South Carolina, drives a Jaguar and never has a problem finding a weekend date.
As a successful psychologist, Brian also spends most of his time helping some of his patients deal with the worries and fears affecting their lives.
Not only is life strange. Sometimes, it can have a wicked sense of humor, too.
ROB DOLLAR was a reporter and editor for the Kentucky New Era for 20 years. A resident of Hopkinsville, he has authored three books on topics of local interest in recent years. He can be reached at email@example.com.