Bob doesn’t sweat the small stuff – really

Bob doesn't sweat the small stuff – really by Bob Karolevitz I�ve been told more than once not to sweat the small stuff.

Okay, so our checkbook is three cents out of balance. Who cares?

So Phyllis squeezes the toothpaste tube in the center and rips apart the inner package of the Wheaties box. I don�t mind.

And if she leaves the cupboard doors open now and then, it rolls off my back like water off a duck�s back.

See? I�ve learned how not to let little things bother me.

Sure, Phyllis occasionally puts a stamp on an envelope crooked; but now, as far as I�m concerned, she can stick them on cross-wise or upside down for that matter.

I don�t even mind when she puts a new roll of toilet paper in backwards. I merely change it so the sheets come off counter-clockwise. I no longer resort to yelling from the bathroom.

My life in the past has been full of little fetishes like that, and they have all added up to what we now call stress. But not anymore!

Shucks, I didn�t even care much when the yard gate was left open, allowing the horses to gallop off into the corn field.

I said to Phyllis quite casually: �We may never see them again.� Which is when she let me know, in no uncertain terms, that I was carrying my �small stuff� too far.

I told her it was part of my campaign to conquer the up-tightness we all suffer from. (there, I ended a sentence with a preposition, and it didn�t even phase me. I just might be up to happily splitting an infinitive, too.)

That shows you how far I�m willing to go in my effort to overcome the symptoms of stress. The American work ethic be danged!

Of course I�m not as bad as all those Type A people who never know when to quit. I�m not going in for deep-breathing therapy or Yoga exercises; I�m just concentrating on the little quirks which could become big problems if I add them up.

They tell me that even George Washington wasn�t immune to the pressures of his office. According to what I�ve read, he used to steal away for weeks at a time to re-energize himself. If he didn�t worry so much about the powdering of his wig or if his knee britches fit okay, he probably wouldn�t have needed that respite.

Be that as it may, I�m taking the advice about what I sweat out. I don�t fuss anymore when the mower won�t start, when the television set is on the fritz or when my breakfast cereal doesn�t snap, crackle or pop. I also don�t let telemarketers get on my nerves.

Oh, I have my moments of failure, though, which Phyllis is quick to point out. I have suffered setbacks when I found cat hairs in the wash basin, when a bulb burns out at an inopportune time or when I can�t find a matching sock in my drawer. But those occasions – except for the cat hairs – are happening less often.

So stress is not a problem with me – unless, of course, I try to activate something with a rope starter. Then I revert to my former self.

� 2003 Robert F. Karolevitz

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