The OQ’s Guide to Worrying

We live in worrying times but there is so much to worry about that it can sometimes be worrying knowing what to worry about most. Well, the Ojai Quarterly is here to help with our handy Guide to Worrying!

No. 1: Consider Outsourcing Your Worry. As it happens there are people (me!) you can pay to worry for you. My rates are reasonable so that’s something right there that you already don’t have to worry about. The way it works is this: You tell me what you would like me to worry about for you and I set aside as much time as you would like to pay for and dedicate myself to desperate and debilitating worry at your chosen level.   

Obviously I will charge more for big worries like climate change, or is there a God? And that mole you found on your back. Standard worry packages cost about $30 an hour and include things like: Should I have gone with the cheapest caterer or the one with the real knives and forks? How stupid are spiders? And what if I die in ridiculous circumstances and nobody at my funeral can stop sniggering?

I also do custom packages to deal with gender-specific worries. For men, I’m often asked to worry about how high up your torso you should hike your pants? Can your cat read your thoughts when it’s staring at you like that? Does your other cat know it’s not your favorite, even though you try really hard to distribute ear rubs equally? Does Lisa in the gas-station think you’re a dork? And, of course, all the usual size-related worries and whether they matter.

For women I do various packages about whether your butt looks big in that; why Janet and Marie stop talking whenever you enter the room; if you put a topiary dolphin in your front yard will people be impressed or quietly ridiculing? What if one or more of your children turns out to be a serial killer or a triangle player in an orchestra? Are there long-term career opportunities for triangle players and do they come with dental because he never wears his retainer any more and all that orthodontistry will soon be for nothing? Is orthodontistry a real word?

Speciality worries cost a little more, too. Things like what if I’ve caught anything from that wet toilet seat I sat on without realizing it was wet? Where have all the flowers gone? Is the actor who plays Joffrey on “Game of Thrones” doomed to be regarded as a sadistic little git in real life, too? Why can I never remember what a pangolin is? What does it sound like when the doves cry? Why are they crying? What do you call that particular feeling when you are exhausted after committing acts of senseless violence?

How will you know you are getting your money’s worth? Well, each week you will receive a video of me worrying for you. You will see me wringing my hands, pacing back and forth like a zoo penguin who can’t stop overthinking everything, popping Xanax upon the hour, and I will tear up to 10 hairs out of my head per session.  You will also see me frantically researching your worry on the internet and receive a detailed document outlining what I have discovered. I will read both trusted and ludicrous sources to further heighten the worry. You will also receive before and after photos of my forehead so you can note the increasing depth of my frown lines.

Of course many people are philosophically opposed to outsourcing — especially to a foreigner like me — and that is fine. It is perfectly reasonable to want to Make America Worry Again and keep American worries in American heads. I would add that I am a U.S. citizen but I completely understand that that may not be enough for some people. For you then, here is:

No. 2: A Small Sample of Things Absolutely Never to Worry About. (The complete guide can be purchased from the OQ for just $9.99):

Does Donald Trump think I’m a 10? How much faster will my slippers wear out if I choose tile over carpet for the hall? Can carrots feel? (They can feel love but never know hate until they are already in the casserole.) Do you know the way to San Jose? (No need, we have GPS now.) Why do the bubbles in a settling pint of Guinness appear to be going down? (Already solved in a UK government-funded university study.)

The alternative to all this, of course, is :

No. 3: Try Not to Worry.