Three little words that may change your life… What, me worry?

April 23, 2014

Sometimes the simplest little things can have big impact on our lives. In this series of posts I examine very short sentences (each just three words long) that may make a difference in your life. If you have a three word sentence that changed your life somehow, share it with me and I will share it with the world. If you just had fun reading the post; well, that’s OK too. Enjoy.

When I was growing up a satirical monthly comic magazine call Mad Magazine was all the rage. I remember anticipating the latest issue each month. There were new Spy vs. Spy episodes  and great cartoons by Don Martin. The whole issue was an irreverent look at things happening in society. I noted at their web site today that recent issues have Alfred E. Neuman, the iconic gap-toothed kid who is always on the cover, twerking with Miley Cyrus and taking on the Lego phenomenon. Over all of those years and still today there was Alfred E. Neuman smiling from the cover each month with his tag line  – What, me worry?

Mad Magazine was launched in 1952 and is still around today, now in bi-monthly issues, and they have their own web site, too. I took a quick peak at the web site and can tell that they are still launching irreverent comic stink bombs into the minds of the children that they target. It’s still a hoot if you’re young. The humor at Mad has always been more sophisticated than the indicated target audience would seem to dictate, but I suspect that the audience has also caught up to a level of understanding of the satire involved. If you talk for long with a middle-schooler you’ll understand that satire and cynicism aren’t lost on them. Still it is on the surface a great temporary escape from reality and still has that great philosophy – What, me worry?

I believe that we could all use a little more humor in our lives and a lot less worry. I wrote about dealing with issues or worries in the post Deal with it. I also wrote about being at peace, which is for the most part being free from worries. Worries are a tremendous waste of time and energy, especially if they are about things over which we have no control. Did you remember to turn off the stove at home before you left? Did you mail the bills on time? Is anyone going to ask you to the prom? Will you remember everything for today’s test? What should you expect in today’s job interview? Is your really going to come visit for two weeks? Deal with it, be at peace and say to yourself – What, me worry?

It is particularly a waste of time and energy when what we are worrying about is something that we conjured up in our own imagination in the first place. That is often the case if we are facing some sort of confrontation at home or at work and let our imaginations explore all possible outcomes. What if they start yelling or crying, what will I do? What if they get mad? What if they can’t understand my side of things? What if I lose a friend? Don’t go there. Instead, relax, read a good book or watch a good movie and get your mind off of it. Instead, try to get to that state of mind of – What, me worry?

So, while Alfred E. Neuman’s little tag line might not be the bedrock upon which you want to base your philosophy of life, it certainly has value as a safety valve of sorts to prevent things from becoming overwhelming. Don’t take life so seriously.  If you find yourself drifting into worries about things that you know you can’t control, just look yourself in the mirror and imagine that little smiling gap-toothed character looking back at you and asking – What, me worry?

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