Monday, November 8, 2010

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

The mid-term election looms over us and I felt compelled to write about something politicians must know a lot about, stress. Can you imagine the stress involved in spending millions of dollars on getting elected to “higher” office only to find you are not worthy or wanted? To put your soul, mind and body into the effort, expose family, friends and pets to today’s scrutiny only to be rejected by the voters who, by now, are very familiar with everything from your last colonoscopy to your favorite Dancing with the Stars contestant. By the time you read this many will be feeling the pain of rejection, some rightfully so; others will feel the stress of taking on a new job and for the first termers, one for which there may be no means of preparation.
But stress seems to be different things to different people. Stress to a politician these days would have to be wondering when and where he’ll be when someone digs up enough dirt to make sure he doesn’t win again. And speaking of digging, stress to a dog would have to be a flea, small, insignificant but the dog never knows when one will bite and so you see that worried look on the poor pooch’s face when he’s got a flea (female dogs probably don’t have fleas). Then, when the bite does come, the dog goes nuts and begins biting itself to find and kill the rascal that bit him. I’ve noticed that my boy Hercules will sit with that worried look on his face if he has just the one flea but if he’s got a bunch of fleas, he just gives up and sleeps in a state of depression. It seems that when we have a lot of stressors in our lives we do tend to “give up” and just let things happen. I suppose Ol’ Herky feels like he might have a shot at the one flea but when he’s got ten, who cares! I would buy him one of those stress balls but he’d just stress out trying to figure out how to hold the thing.
Folks with a lot of kids don’t seem to stress out as much if one “goes astray” so to speak, whereas my wife and I spend days worrying about our one daughter, who keeps telling us she’s perfect. I can’t refer to her as a stressor so I just call her “small stuff”, as in “don’t sweat the small stuff”. “Small stuff” got to me the other day so I tried listening to music. Found one of Beethoven’s sonatas, No. 6 it was, and of course found myself thinking of the out of doors, the farm, cows and such. That brought to mind the time I was visiting my Uncle Melvin in Sevierville, Tennessee, walking the land as it were and stepped in a cow paddy, then tracked the stuff into his house. I turned off Beethoven, put on some country music and poured myself a strong one.
Stress is most times where you find it and it can be found anywhere. I still think of sitting on my brother-in-law’s porch in the N.C. mountains, enjoying a Danish and watching the squirrels wreck havoc on his bird feeder until the quiet was interrupted by the sound of his twenty-two echoing through the woods as he blasted away at his stressors. I guess those squirrels were his “small stuff” but the boom of that 22 was large stuff to me as I choked on breakfast. Still, finding out what the “small stuff” is in your life is not easy and without knowledge of that you might as well be pouring Drano down a manhole. I’m looking forward to Tuesday night when we see the results of months of work and some new faces on the political horizon. Let’s all hope they don’t continue pouring our tax dollars down the D.C. manhole that ain’t no “small stuff”.