We all have that one friend — the ‘worrier‘. That’s the person — usually female, in my experience, though I’m not nearly brave enough to hypothesize why it might be so — who’s always looking out for trouble. And for the worrier, the bogeyman comes in many forms. Maybe the weather’s going to turn, or we could find cheaper gas at another station, or that guy by the coffee table looks like the sort who wouldn’t use a coaster under his drink.
“Personally, I’m happy with my own plasma and platelets, thank you very much. They may be a little sunburned and tequila-logged right now, but they’re still mine.”
Worries seen, unseen, and fabricated from thin anxiety assault these poor folks constantly, until (I imagine) one day they fall dead shrieking about the sorry state of drinking water quality in the modern suburban household. Either that, or they slip into a wild-eyed twitchy dementia, destined for straight jackets and applesauce dinners during their golden years. At least they won’t have to worry about scurvy, eh?
Which brings us to the local worrywart among my group of chums. She’s well-established in our circle as ‘the anxious one’, but recently her far-fetched fears have taken on a new facet; perhaps it has something to do with her creeping age. She’s no spring Chicken Little any more, you know.
Her new knack for nailbiting has to do with her medical condition. Her grave, possibly terminal medical condition, if you believe the bellyaching. Apparently, her advancing years have driven her to brush up on health matters, and she’s learned just enough to make any conversation dangerous. Here’s a recent sampling:
Worrywart: Hi, guys. You probably want to stand back — I think I might have the bird flu.
Friend #1: You have the what?
Worrywart: You know, the bird flu. Flap, flap, ack, ack, kick the bucket. I think I *cough* caught it from that Hunan Chicken I *kaff* ate the other night.
Friend #2: Oh, lord. You don’t have the bird flu.
Worrywart: No, I do. All the symptoms are there — coughing, chills… I bet I have a fever!
Friend #1: Look, you’ve got a cold. That’s all.
Worrywart: But I’m nauseous! Can’t you see–
Friend #2: No. Take some NyQuil. You’re fine.
Worrywart: But the bird–
Friend #1: You don’t get bird flu from takeout Chinese food. Really. I checked.
Worrywart: I could die, you know.
Friend #2: It’s a risk we’ll have to take.
Worrywart: I looked up the symptoms. If it’s not bird flu, then it’s probably dengue.
Friend #1: *sigh* No. You don’t have dengue fever, either.
Worrywart: But… but, that hat I tried on the other day — it was made in Cambodia, remember? Cambodia! Now I’ve got a headache, too! I bet my eyes are bleeding, right now. Are my eyes bleeding? I bet they are.
Friend #2: Just take a Tylenol and a nap, would you? Chill.
Worrywart: Yeah, just wait until I die; then you’ll be sorry. This dengue’ll be coming after you. Then you’ll see!
Me: Yeah. You’re probably right. So… can I have your iPod?
For the record, the girl’s probably just got seasonal allergies. And no, apparently I can’t have her iPod, so even she knows she’s not dying. Meanwhile, I can’t wait for her to get over this ‘mortality kick’, and back to making us all pack umbrellas and galoshes to go to a barbeque. Otherwise, she’ll strap clinical masks on us all, and have us getting full-body blood transfusions before you know it. Personally, I’m happy with my own plasma and platelets, thank you very much. They may be a little sunburned and tequila-logged right now, but they’re still mine. And I’m confident there’s no bird flu — or dengue fever, bubonic plague, Lyme disease, mercury poisoning, or bad chakra mojo — anywhere in my blood right now. Quite confident.
If I wake up tomorrow with throbbing hives, leaky pores, jungle vertigo, and explosive… well, explosive anything, really, then I’ll have it checked out. Until then, I’m leaving the fussbudgeting to the fussbudget. But I will lay off the Hunan Chicken for a while — just in case. There’s no bird flu in there, but I’m beginning to wonder whether it causes paranoia. The evidence is mounting. Better put on your masks.