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Don’t worry, be happy

Barry Smith

“I usually wake up at three each morning, but I don’t get out of bed until about five,” my grandmother said.”What do you do for those two hours?” I asked her.She replied, quite seriously: “Worry.”I come from a family of proud worriers, which is nothing to be proud of.Personally, I’m doing all I can to phase it out of my life.THING I CAN STOP WORRYING ABOUT No. 1:I was 19, and had been hired to videotape a wedding. It was1985, so video cameras weren’t all that common, meaning that mine – the kind where you had to carry half of your VCR with you – was the only such camera in attendance. They were going to pay me a hundred dollars – a staggering sum – for my services. I had been having some problems with the battery lately, but all was going well, and the ceremony was winding down.”And do you, Cathy, take Herbert…”Suddenly the battery meter jumped from full to half full. Bad sign.”…to have and to hold, for ever and ever…”The meter dropped to empty. EMPTY! Then, a second later, the camera was dead.”And do you, Herbert …”There was nothing stealthy about the battery changing process. It involved much ripping of Velcro and banging around of big electronic things, and Velcro is especially loud in church. My camera was on a tripod, so I hoped that nobody would realize that it didn’t happen to be working during the ABSOLUTE MOST IMPORTANT PART of the blessed day.I shoved the new battery in, and the viewfinder flickered on. The kiss was over. I was doomed.Afterwards, I handed to the tape to the groom’s father as he wrote me a check. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that crucial parts would be blank, as if Richard Nixon had filmed the wedding, but I did make it a point to have that hundred bucks handy for when he called and demanded it back. He never did.And it just occurred to me, just a few weeks ago, that he never will!I’m home free! Whew.THING I CAN STOP WORRYING ABOUT No. 2:”Match Game ’76,” my favorite TV game show in 1976. It was the big final round, where the contestant gets to pick the celebrity that has had the most psychic connection with them throughout the game. The old man had picked Richard Dawson, and the clue to be completed by each of them was “Haley’s (BLANK).”I didn’t know this old man, but I was happy for him. The obvious answer was “Comet.”The old man said, with a confident smile, “Well, sink or swim, it’s got to be Haley’s Navy.” Richard held up the card he’d written “Comet” on, and they cued up the loser music.Ugh. My little 10-year-old empathy was on overload. He not only blew it, losing all that money, but I’m sure his family was watching him and it was all really horrible when he got home.Recently, I thought of that old man, and realized that he’s probably entered the “Pearly (BLANK)” by now, so I can let it go. Ahhh…THING I CAN STOP WORRYING ABOUT No. 3:About five years ago I went on a real cleaning spree. One of the things I threw out during this colonic-like purge was my “collection” of mid-late ’80s punk rock flyers.Then, a few weeks ago, for no real reason, I started to miss them. What had I done? What if they’re actually worth something some day? Had I just blown my retirement fund? And what about the sentimental value of those photocopied masterpieces? Hadn’t I, in a way, tossed aside my youth?I wasn’t so much worrying as fretting, but any good thesaurus will tell you that it’s close enough.On a whim, I typed “Punk rock flyers” into an internet search engine. A few clicks later and I found a site offering “Punk Rock Flyer Ten Packs.” No kidding. The “California Punk Assortment,” which probably contained most all of the flyers I tossed, was only $13.There it was, the youth I thought I’d lost forever, all neatlyshrink-wrapped for my convenient post-punk consumption. I could even have it overnighted.What, me worry? qAspen-based writer Barry Smith moves his lips while writing this column, and hopes you do the same while reading it. E-mail him at barry@irrelativity.com or visit his Web page at http://www.Irrelativity.com.


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