I worry too much, it’s true. I worry so much that I worry about worrying, what my professors would call metaworrying because slapping a prefix like meta- onto anything immediately makes it sound cool.

A lot of people say that, that they worry too much, and then when you quiz them it turns out they mean worrying about one thing ever is too much, the implication being that we should all be carefree and living in the moment. Then you have my uncle Frank, who says that there is usually one person in every organization who does the worrying for the other 99 twats who can’t be bothered, with that one person also usually being the one who does all the work.

So I guess you could say that I’m the worst of both worlds, in that I worry over a lot of things but am in a position to do very little about them, powerless as indentured graduate student instructors are.

So here I am worrying what I’ll do if that sass in my 2:00 class tells me my assignment is a waste of their time again (odds are about even for losing my temper and breaking down in tears in front of the whole class). Worries about the esoteric (what if the mediocre job I’m doing is condemning me in the afterlife?), the prosaic (why can’t American manufacture anything people want to buy anymore?), and the cosmically unlikely (what if my high school crush Abby Durant turns up on my doorstep–embrace or revenge?) mingle freely.

Why can’t I find a church that’s a happy medium between raging fundamentalism that hands out suicide bomb vests instead of votive candles and the Grand Generic Universalist Church of the Warm Liberal Fuzzies? I worry that’s a personal failing. Am I so negative that without complaints and worrying I’d have nothing to talk about? I metaworry on that one frequently. What if I wind up like Great Aunt Agnes, sitting in a nursing home with nothing but worry and bile to sustain my husk? The metaworries march on.

Then of course there are the heavier ones that I try to avoid, not because I want to be all oblivious and happy-go-lucky but because they make me ice-cream-tub depressed. I worry that no one would ever want to spend their life with me, I worry about clinging to my virginity in the unconscionable depths of my mid-twenties, I worry that I lack the courage to change anything about myself and that the worries will blur together as my entire life spins itself out as a lonely, bitter monotony.

And I worry about being too depressing, which means trying to worry about puppy dogs (and their under-representation versus kitty cats on the internet) and rainbows (and their co-option as a symbol by various and contradictory groups) for a while.

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