[dropcap]M[/dropcap]y grandfather said once, “If there’s one thing I wish I could save you from it’d be worry.” Then he’d touch my shoulder and say, “Whenever you start to worry, I want you to say to yourself, ‘I’m a rich man, and God gives a damn about me.'” Then, he’d puff that pipe of his and laugh quietly to himself.
Worry? I don’t think I started until age nine. I worried about trivial things; that Mother’s fried chicken would be lukewarm if I was tardy for dinner.
At sixteen, I worried hangovers wouldn’t dissipate until old age. Almost like God’s way of saying, “Beer before liquor, and I will smite thy wicked little hindparts.”
When I hit my mid-twenties, I worried Jamie and I couldn’t make babies. The doctor conducted a series of tests that I’m ashamed to even tell you about. In the end, he said our plumbing worked fine. “You need to calm down, son,” he said. “Stress and worry will destroy you.”
I explained to him that I was Baptist.
He wrote me a script for horse tranquilizers.
The truth is, I know fear is destructive. I still worry about the price of gas, the World Series, that my sniffle is really black plague, that I don’t drink enough water, that I eat too much fried shrimp, that I don’t tell people how much I love them. I worry mankind is going to blow himself up one day. I worry my cornbread is going to burn if I get the skillet too hot.
But, then again.
I’m a very a rich man, and God gives a damn about me.