The One Where I Babble About Not Dying

We worry ourselves too much about not dying.  I was in the grocery store today and the cashier and the bag boy were having a conversation.  Usually I get to ignore these conversations because I have my iPod in my ear listening to music or some podcast, but today I went in with my ears naked.  The cashier said, “I’m staying out of high rises and off airplanes.  That’s where the terrorists or the Koreans will attack us.”

First, this is Grover, NC, there are no high rises.  Second, why are you worried about dying in an attack from the terrorists or the (presumably) North Koreans?

Of the many, many things I worry about in life, dying isn’t one of them.  I know I’m going to die.  So, I do not fret too much about the manner of that death.

Worrying about death and bodily injury is something we do too much of in this country.  Yes, if you live in an area plagued by crime and drugs, you should worry about injury and death on a daily basis.  That may actually keep you alive.  However, most of us in this country live in places of relative safety and should not worry about catching a stray bullet from a drive-by.

Why do we worry so much?  I think it has a lot to do with the 24-hour television news cycle and the hourly internet news cycle.  These beasts must be fed and the only way to do it is constant streams of information and content.  Also, as local television news has taught us, “If it bleeds it leads.”  So, not only do content providers have to provide us with constant content, they have to make their content stand out to draw viewers and page hits.  That leads to the most sensational stories possible, which means a lot of murder, mayhem, and tainted food.

The news tells us everything can kill us and we have the ability and money as a first world country to protect us and our children from almost every physical danger.  So, we try to stave away all danger and pain.  However, we can’t, and that makes us try harder and harder to do it.

Oh yeah, you can also get sued by anyone for almost anything today.  Someone slips on ice in front of you house, that’s your fault and you will be sued for millions.  Run over someone’s foot in a grocery store with your cart, they will try to take your house.  Now, we are scared of hurting ourselves and dying before we are ready (This leads to one of my favorite quotes from Band of Brothers by Lt. Ronald Spiers, “The only hope you have is to accept the fact that you’re already dead. The sooner you accept that, the sooner you’ll be able to function as a soldier is supposed to function: without mercy, without compassion, without remorse. All war depends upon it.”  My mind is a wonderful place.) as well as hurting someone else and having them sue us for everything we own.

There is no real point about this except to say we are becoming a country of neurotics.  The cashier just said something that was funny to me.


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