2/02/2008

When I am King: Grave Concern

When I am King...

It's time for the Big Questions.

Why were we put here? What purpose does it serve the universe? What are we supposed to be doing on the planet before our untimely demise? And what's for dinner tonight, anyway?

I believe I have, after long observation, deeply vapid thought, and plenty of booze, figured it out.

Worry.

That's right – we're just supposed to stress out for our entire existence until we kick it.

I'll qualify this: children don't need to worry. It's their job to make us worry instead. But the rest of us had better get worrying because there's no time to lose. Hurry up!

It's obvious if you look at our lives. After that initial period of carefree youth, we enter puberty with a dull wet thud and begin to worry about what others think of us (they hate us) and what we look like (it's not good). Then as we continue on in our education, we worry about passing our classes and whether people like us. We finally hit the workplace, where we worry about finding and then keeping a job.

Meanwhile, we start worrying about finding a mate.

Finally, after a few years of concentrated worrying about life and work, maybe things start to settle down. We're confident about our job (although we worry that we should be paid more). We might have found a mate (although we worry that they'll leave us). We do find other things to worry about instead, like money, our health, a home, our parents, our looks, whether people like us, television writers strikes, or even trivial things like war, famine, and the destruction of the entire planet's ecosystem. But for the most part, we worry less than we did.

Then we have kids and it starts all over again. Only this time we get our own worries plus those of our children: school progress, intelligence, activities, happiness, juvenile arrest records, health, and whether other kids like them.

This amplified level of worry sticks with us through the bitter end as we pick up other concerns, such as getting laid off, aging and falling apart like that piece of birthday cake forgotten on top of the fridge last June, getting stuck in a home by our thankless children, and whether people like us.

I've heard that some people say that life is too short to worry. But they're completely missing the point: life is all about worry. Take away the stress and what do we have left of our lives except a bunch of people that don't like us?

When I am King, I'll make sure that people have fulfilling lives by giving them constant things to worry about. The economy, the environment, the quality of Hollywood movies, the exact arrangement of foods on the FDA food pyramid; these are just a few of the things that could be toyed with to ensure that everyone has a full plate of stress, always.

But I feel I could do so much more to help; it worries me.
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