Saturday, March 19, 2011

Why Americans Shouldn’t Panic

I just came across this headline while supposedly preparing a tax return. Sometimes my attention wanders and I take a look at current headlines, and this one popped up.

And why shouldn’t we? Do they have any idea how close it is to April 15th? I’ve course I’m panicked!

Perhaps they weren’t talking about my tax deadlines. I don’t know. I didn’t read any further. Instead, I commenced to panic. Just tell me I shouldn’t do something, and I’m gonna do it, gosh darn it. It’s my rebellious streak.

On the other hand, tell me to panic, the world is coming to an end, and I’ll sit back and wonder what I should have for lunch, lunch being far more important to me than the end of the world.

Not that I’m not fond of the world – it is where I keep all my stuff, and I am uncommonly attached to my stuff. Some of it’s not worth much, most of it probably, but it’s my stuff and I like it.

There’s not much I can do about all the things I’m not supposed to panic about. Most things I fear never come to pass, like taking the wrong turn off the interstate and finding myself in an alternate reality, so I’ve found it easier not to worry about it. If I do find myself in an alternate reality I’ll worry about it then.

As it is, reality is enough of a problem, isn’t it? Don’t we have enough going on that we don’t need anything else to add to it? The possibility that (insert major disaster here) can strike isn’t so much as if but when – eventually everything happens somewhere. The uncertainty that conflict will break out in (insert conflict area here) will also happen, at some point. And there’s not a thing I can do about it.

Instead, I sit here on the sidelines and wait for things to unfold. Have you noticed how things are unfolding ALL THE TIME? It’s a constant sideshow, if one were to consider the rest of the world a sideshow and not the main event.

I’ll confine my panicking to what I can control, which at the moment is keeping my clients on good terms with the IRS. Talk about a catastrophe waiting to happen – the slightest slip up and the IRS won’t hesitate to panic. I’d think they were in a constant state of panic if I didn’t know that most of the panicking is done by computers who spit out deficiency notices as if their lives depended on it.

However, computers don’t have lives, not like we know them, and they’re not likely to band together to defeat us mere mortals, no matter what the newscasts say. Or maybe that theme is for movies and TV shows. I can’t tell anymore. There are so many things to be cautious about and to arm ourselves against, and sometimes it turns out to be the thing you least expected it to be.

Prepare for the worst. Expect the best. Or is it the other way around? 

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