When I was a kid, sometimes I'd crawl into bed, amidst my B. Kliban Cat comforter and cat sheets and cat pillows, and be scared about some big problem in school (usually related to bullies) that I couldn't figure out how to solve. Sometimes my fears had to do with something more serious, like an ill relative or my disintegrating family unit. But more often it had to do with something that seems silly in retrospect, but was a big deal in elementary school -- the fact that I was required to do something specific in school that surely would get me picked on. For instance, when we had an annual art class assignment to paint a poster of a favorite famous person, I intentionally ducked the assignment for literally weeks and got a zero because I knew whatever I drew would make me ripe for teasing. Kids would pain John Belushi or David Lee Roth and I didn't know who either of them were, and I was sure if I picked someone I knew of, say, Billy Joel, whose songs I practiced on the piano, it'd make me more vulnerable. Even picking a Greek God to do a report on scared me. Believe me, kids can find anything about you to pick on. (Do you remember the classic Judy Blume book "Blubber," and how Blubber got that name because she did a report on whales or something? Exactly.) Yes, this all sounds silly and immature, but I'm talking about elementary school, so cut me some slack.
I remember the night before I was to hand in my Greek God or Goddess report, which I hadn't done, lying in bed and wondering when the last time was that I didn't have something to worry about, and wishing it was a night like that again. And I vowed that if I ever went to sleep again without being nervous and scared, I'd appreciate that it was a night without problems.
So occasionally, I WOULD have that sort of period, brief though it lasted because kids have no control over their lives, and I'd crawl under my cat comforter and realize I *didn't* have any major problems (no kids picking on me, family temporarily not fighting, no one sick), and I would be very appreciative, although I didn't know how long it would last.
Anyway, I was thinking about that today because right now, I have no major problems. There are the usual ongoing minor dilemmas, but nothing at crisis level, nothing that makes it hard to sleep. And I'm very grateful.
Of course, right now I'm in a time in my life where I'm not completely in charge of anyone's well being. I have no pets or kids right now. I do manage a writing staff, but I haven't reprimanded anyone in a few days so I think no one hates me right now (although being a boss, it's hard to tell. Yeahhhh...TPS Reports...do you have those TPS Reports?)
Some day I will have more people/things to worry about. But at this moment, even though I'm without cat comforter, I can curl up and feel relieved.
Thanks to Wes, Carl, and "Blogfan Sam" from Hawaii for reminding me that the essay I was looking for was back in Aug of '03. I didn't think it was so long ago. I have always depended on the kindness of stranglers, I mean, strangers.