Don’t sweat small stuff

Rick Ryckeley's picture

The aim of the wet projectile was perfect. Down the Street Bully Brad had taken almost everything into account. I say almost because his first spitball of the school year had missed its intended target by inches. Brad Macalister’s target was, of course, the back of my head.

I had been anticipating the impact since the start of school and dreading each day that passed when it didn’t come. Dad had told me many times not to sweat the small stuff in life. He didn’t seem to understand that a monster spitball could never be deemed small stuff. One of those wads could ruin your entire day, especially if it slips down the back of your shirt. It was easy for him not to worry about it. He wasn’t the one getting hit.

The location I had picked out for my third grade desk was not by accident. Located in third row over from the doorway and third seat back from the front, it was a strategic place, the direct center of the room.

It was not so close to the front that I’d be mistaken for a nerd, but close enough to show Old Mrs. Crabtree that I was actually interested in what she had to say, which of course I wasn’t. Only a nerd would be.

My seat was also about as far as I could get away from Brad. He sat in the very back of the room. Come to find out he was also worried about stuff – he was hoping Old Mrs. Crabtree wouldn’t call on him. Something she rarely did. I guess even Mrs. Crabtree had her limits.

Fortunately, I had bent over to recover the pencil that Goofy Steve had knocked off my desk when the spitball was in flight. It was a game we played to see who could knock off the most pencils in a day without getting yelled at by Mrs. Crabtree.

If I’d spent more time listening to her than playing, I’d have learned more. Then again if I wasn’t playing the pencil game, the spitball would have landed on target.

Unfortunately third grade and that spitball were only the start of a long list of things I’ve worried about — all of which my Dad, at one time or another, has called small stuff.

Over the years I’ve agonized over just about everything. Should I get married or stay single? Should I change jobs for more money or keep doing the job I love? I worry even if I don’t have anything to worry about because I know something is about to happen and I’d have to start worrying again.

It’s difficult to be me. Trust me; I know. Sometimes I’m exhausted at the end of the day just from all the worrying.

I used to worry if people liked me. Now I don’t. I figure that’s their worry. I’ve got enough of my own. Maybe I should start a club for chronic worriers. Our motto can be, “Don’t sweat the small stuff. And remember everything is small stuff.”

If I start the club, I wonder if anyone will show up for the meetings. Great, now I have something else to worry about.

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