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by Jackie K. Cooper

Some people are basically paranoid, and that description pretty much fits me. In today's age I find a lot of things to be paranoid about. It's easy. Just pick up the newspaper or turn on TV and you will find a check list of possibilities that can turn you gray overnight.

Look up in the sky and spot a cloud. Is it a possible tornado? Or go to the beach, then you can worry about sharks or tsunamis. Somewhere there are killer bees ready to sting you to death. The article I read about them said they were generally harmless unless you aggravate them. I guess that means you are safe unless you call them names, or buzz off-key.

Honestly, just going to your fast food place for a snack can put the fear of God into you. I headed out the other day with chili on my mind. Then I remembered that story I had read about possible "mad cow" disease being found in Alabama. That state is next door to me so that put a chill on my chili.

So I decided maybe some chicken nuggets would be tasty. Wait a minute, I thought, what about bird flu? Do chickens get bird flu, or are they all tested before they end up in those huge trucks I see with cages piled on top of cages? Better stick with a salad. Then when I got home I turned on TV and there was some guy talking about too many pesticides being used on lettuce.

My wife is a vegetarian, has been for years. She says she never felt better and urges me constantly to convert. So far I have withstood her pleas. I love steaks and hamburgers, and chili. How could I live without my weekly intake of spaghetti? Watching my wife eating her salads and vegetables doesn't do it for me. Those are side dishes, not the main course.

I really think we have to live our lives and pray for the best. We can only hide from the realities for so long. I had a friend whose parents were both sickly people. He worried all his life about their dying, and you know what? They both outlived him. He was killed in a car wreck in his early thirties and both his parents are still alive. All that time of worry was just wasted.

Still I live in fear of the unknown. My poor wife has to call me when she leaves school each day so I will know she is on her way home. That way, if she has car trouble I will know to be on alert. I also check on my kids every day just to make sure things are all right. I need that reassurance they are doing okay. I used to have to worry only about my wife and two sons. Now I also have two daughters-in-law and two grandchildren I must monitor.

Was it Churchill or Roosevelt who said, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself"? Anyway they didn't know how my mind operates. I fear everything AND fear itself. I know that uses up a lot of energy and I wish I could stop, but I think I am just programmed to be a little insecure about things.

My preacher ended her sermon last week with this story. She said there was a woman who was just sure her home was going to be burglarized. She told her husband over and over that this was going to occur. Finally one night they did hear a noise in their home. The husband got up to check and sure enough there was a burglar standing in their den.

The husband looked at the burglar, who seemed to be searching for an escape route, and said, "Could you wait here a minute. I want to get my wife. She'll be so excited to see you. She's been expecting you for years."


Jackie K. Cooper was born in South Carolina and now lives in Georgia. He is the married father of two sons and the proud grandparent of a boy and a girl.

He is familiar to people living in the middle Georgia area as the "entertainment man" since his entertainment reviews run in newspapers and are shown on television there. His short stories have also been used as commentary on Georgia Public Radio.

Cooper has lived an exceptionally interesting life. Portions of it were contained in his first book JOURNEY OF A GENTLE SOUTHERN MAN. Now the journey continues in his second book titled CHANCES AND CHOICES.

Write Jackie Cooper at this e-mail address
and be sure to visit his excellent web site: jackiekcooper.com.

~Read more of Jackie's stories at USADEEPSOUTH~
Jackie White
Alzheimer's: The value of humor
Online Dating
Finding Your Face
In Praise of Red-Headed Girls
Greatest Generation
Men and Their Automobiles
It's All About Me!
Moments of Memories
The Customer is Always Wrong
Never Too Old To Hurt


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