Thursday, September 17, 2020

High Anxiety followed by an old story about Stealing Candy Bars

By Fred Owens

You can't even quote Woody Allen anymore but he was the master of high anxiety, defined as worrying about nothing, but worrying just the same and worrying because you're worrying. But I want to assure the readers that this is not the case for most of us right now. We are anxious about real troubles, this is not imaginary, this is not a drill. The sky is falling and the ocean is rising. Okay, that overstates it, but you can look out the window and see evidence. Evidence of bad air. Evidence becomes facts and facts have been disparaged by the right to a large degree, as you all know. The right (meaning Trump) has no use for facts, and they don't have any anxiety because they're all going to heaven. So what can we do? I'm not going to present a solution except to repeat my initial point -- your anxiety is about real problems. Please write back and share with us  -- how goes it at your house?

Seven Weeks To Go

Frog Hospital is published every Friday. There will be seven issues, including this one, until the election November 3. We are prepared for a rough ride. It could get a lot worse. The outcome is uncertain. But problems become opportunities  -- really, they do. Our selected leader Joe Biden has surprising strength and stamina. He is going the distance. He can win in November. He can overcome Trump because he is good at politics. That is his greatest strength. We at Frog Hospital have always admired our best politicians. It is the fashion to despise politicians, but why? The alternative to politics is war, dictatorship, anarchy and chaos. I'll take politics and I'll take Biden. He knows how to build a team that can get things done. His first important decision was choosing Kamala Harris as his running mate. She adds strength and character to the ticket, and she represents the beauty and power of the Golden State, which happens to be on fire right now. But do you think this fire storm will stop us or defeat us? Not on your life.

Old Story about Stealing Candy Bars when I was ten.

Where I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago in the 1950s, nothing ever changed. From year to year it was always the same, incredibly stable. I liked it that way. The trees grew and the weather changed from one season to another. No drama. Here's a story from that time, 500 words, an excerpt titled Stealing Candy Bars from a much longer autobiographical sketch titled Why Was I Born.

I don’t know where I got this idea because nobody else did it. Or nobody told me about it, but I started stealing candy bars when I was ten years old.  And not from the Drugstore. I was dimly aware not to crap in my own sweet spot and leave the Drugstore for honest candy. Besides that, the tall, grey-haired lady was always watching behind the counter.  No, I stole from the grocery store over across Lake Street. I could put a couple of Milky Ways in my pants pocket down the aisle where no one was looking and just waltz right out of the store. Free candy. I kept stealing candy bars and I never told my friends, just ate them myself.

Charlie Swanson lived two houses down from the grocery store in a tall and narrow wooden house, lived there with his older sister and his parents.  He was an altar boy with an angelic pose. He had this kind of bland personality, not too much fun. I didn’t play with him. But there he was one day just standing outside the door of the grocery store when I came out with pockets bulging with Milky Ways, and I made the mistake of bragging – that’s how you always get caught – “Charlie, look what I got, and I stole them. Just took them. Do you want some?” 

If Charlie was shocked it didn’t show on his bland, angelic face. He said, “That’s wrong. That’s stealing. You shouldn’t take candy bars like that. I’m going to tell the manager you stole them.”

I turned red as a beet and got really scared. I knew it was wrong, and now he knew, and pretty soon the manager would know and then my parents. I was scared. I ran off, around the corner to the front of the Drugstore. I ate the candy bars quickly.  I never stole candy bars again after that.

It was not like Charlie Swanson was my best friend or anything. He was just someone in my class and I went over to his house a few times. But this kind of put a strain on things. Telling on me!

Two years later, Mrs. Swanson was getting out of her bathtub. She slipped and fell, banged her head on the side of the bath tub and died, just like that. We all went to the funeral. Charlie followed his mother’s coffin with his bland, angelic face. Of course he was sorrowful but it didn’t show.  I wasn’t mad at him anymore for telling on me.

My whole life changed because of Mrs. Swanson dying in her own bathroom, a perfectly healthy mom, and then she died. I became an adventurer and risk taker. I roamed the world as a man and took my chances, some very foolish chances and all because of Mrs. Swanson -- because why play it safe? Why stay home? You could die in your bathtub.

That's all for this week, but with any encouragement I can publish more excerpts from this story in coming issues.


Fred Owens
cell: 360-739-0214

My gardening blog is  Fred Owens

My writing blog is Frog Hospital


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FIVER Environment Group Co.Ltd said...

A very good and informative article indeed . It helps me a lot to enhance my knowledge, I really like the way the writer presented his views. I hope to see more informative and useful articles in future.

UV Lamp Manufacturer