Whatever Happened to Alfred E. Neuman?

Trouble been doggin' my soul since the day I was born


Worry, worry, worry, worry

Worry just will not seem to leave my mind alone…


Oh, trouble, trouble, trouble, trouble

Feels like every time I get back on my feet

she come around and knock me down again


Oh, worry, worry, worry, worry

Sometimes I swear it feels like this worry is my only friend

–Lyrics from "Trouble" by Ray LaMontagne

I come from
a long line of worriers. My people worry. And by my people I am referring to my
tribe. In fact, Yiddish specialist
Michael Wex has talked about the fact that
Yiddish expressions are rife with worry and superstition. Godforbid you should
exhale fully when things are going well because Nazis and Cossacks could be
lurking around the corner.

legacies need to be put to rest; generations of worrying, spitting over our
shoulders and whispering “K’eyn a’hara” (keep the evil eye away) are doing
nothing to ensure the continuity of the tribe, let alone good luck or (puh puh
puh) happiness.

What is
worry, anyway? Why do we do it? Where does the line get crossed between caring,
concern and worry? Worry wakes people up at 3:30 in the morning. Worry is the
illusion of control. Worry is imbued with fear, and sometimes with shame.

Some people’s
worrying looks like quiet smoldering, while others are screaming sirens of

What are the
worry-free moments of your life? When do you feel most at ease and free of

(My worry-free moments today included listening to some fabulous new music, enjoying a brief but decadent afternoon nap, and reading a newsy juicy email from an old friend.)