The Fretting Gene

Someday, they will isolate the gene for worrying. At that time, a great quandary will face the human race: should it be genetically engineered in or out?

Arguments against the gene:

  1. The medical community seems to believe that stress is not good for you, and I have yet to encounter worry without stress.
  2. Worrying is not particularly enjoyable.
  3. The Visit wrapped up last Thursday morning. It was, by all measures, a stunning success (she said humbly). On Saturday, I dreamt that I’d failed to plan a way for our visitors—who you will remember had gone home two days earlier—to get to Easter mass. Apparently my ability to produce anxiety can overcome both the separation of church and state and the space-time continuum.

Arguments for the gene:

  1. One non-worrying friend claims that only worriers can write novels because writers have to imagine horrible things happening to their characters. When I caught myself thinking that some student research posters might get stolen out of the back seat of my car at Office Max, I decided there might be something to this theory. I had to tell myself sternly that no one nearby wanted to know about albino quail enough to break into my car.
  2. Another friend who doesn’t worry told me multiple times over the last month, “Don’t fret.” What American would even remember such a fine word as “fret” if she didn’t have someone telling her not to do it? This argument is only applicable if you know someone British.

Calm and peaceful friend number one also contends that whether or not you think up every possible calamity, you end up in approximately the same place. That is the problem with non-worriers—they lack the imagination to recognize that the rest of us are holding the world together. So those of you who think things just work out should thank the rest of us for saving you from the hordes of giant, rabid, albino quail.

8 thoughts on “The Fretting Gene

  1. I stand firmly in your camp of Worriers, Rachel. Thank you for the giggles. Although writing this blog no doubt stresses you out weekly (weakly?) I appreciate you more with every entry. Enjoy your next few with relatively little distraction from your workload. You survived The Visit, girl! Congratulations!

  2. Then there’s the evolutionary argument for the worrying gene: In the caveman days, the people who tended to freak out at every little thing (“OMG! Is that a sabre-toothed tiger in the bushes?”) were the ones who tended to survive, because there were plenty of real things to freak out about (see above re: sabre-toothed tigers). Being paranoid just means I have survivor genes, right?

    • Or it could mean that the non-worriers are more evolved than we are because they have somehow biologically recognized that the albino quail are not as dangerous as the sabre-toothed tigers.

  3. You got them from me! In Traditional Chinese Medicine via Donna Eden, it’s called Triple Warmer run rampant. : )

  4. I’ve been thinking about the “non-worrying” comment a lot… I feel like I owe an elaboration… I do worry — just not as creatively as some. And those some need to write novels.

    Also, I would like to very sincerely thank all worry-worts for keeping this world together. Surely if I’da been a cave-person I woulda been a Sabretooth Sandwich.

    • I keep meaning to write and thank you for the inspiration. The thing is, as I said in my reply to Anne, perhaps we kept it together during cave-person days, but now that we’re not cave people anymore, perhaps the non-worriers are the more evolved because they’ve moved past the non-existent sabre-teeth.

  5. […] Dad once told me a story of some unfortunate couple in a small craft getting creamed by a tanker. I translated this to all boats with motors simultaneously will not notice and are gunning for all small, oar or paddle-driven boats. If you think those psychos in their outboard-powered death machines cannot both ignore and aim for something at the same time, you are not using your imagination (see post on fretting). […]

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