What to think if someone has given you this book
as a gift
Perhaps you are thinking, Hey. Someone has just given me this book and it has the word anxious in the title. Asshole.
Don't worry. Just because someone gave you this book does not mean they think you are anxious or uptight or have "issues."
But chances are you are anxious and uptight and most likely have issues. And no, that is not an insult. It is a compliment. It means you are very likely an interesting person.
But also complicated and probably difficult to live with, even though you think you are easy to live with (a classic sign of someone who is difficult to live with).
The point is to simply enjoy the book in the spirit with which it was given. Which most likely was a ploy to get you to see a therapist. Also to possibly regift it to a person you know who, like you, has serious emotional issues.
What to think if you bought this book
Good for you.
It says a great deal about you that you would carry around a book with the word anxious in the title. Especially since you are not anxious.
Oh sure, there's a little bubble of fear that sits in your stomach most days. But who doesn't have that? (Calm people.)
Anxiety is a total stranger to you. Well, maybe not a total stranger. Maybe you see anxiety in the neighborhood from time to time. Heck, maybe you have welcomed anxiety into your home, had a coffee and a laugh. Well, maybe not a laugh so much as a question. And that question was about your persistent cough and whether you should have an MRI that very day.
The point is to relax. Remember, you are not an anxious person. And you are holding a book with the word anxious on the cover to prove it.
But also thinking that maybe you should return it and hoping you've kept the receipt.
What to think if you borrowed this book from
a friend or the library
You couldn't buy this?
I'm a freelance poet, for God's sake.
Do you have any idea how hard it is to get the IRS to even recognize that as a real thing?
It started out simple enough.
A brief search.
Which I spelled wrong
and now realize is a district in India
as well as the Dutch slang
for a very bad word
and also, somehow, cancer.
Which led me to a site that linked
canker sores to cold sores
showing how oral cancer lesions
can mimic an open canker sore,
symptoms of which include
mouth pain and difficulty swallowing
(both of which I suddenly had)
as I followed a link to
the definition of head and neck cancer
which I did not know was a thing
nor did I realize I was now at risk of it
as a result of my mouth lesion/canker/cancer sore
which often causes
resulting in blindness, lack of motor function,
and complete sexual dysfunction.
Which is good to know.
Then I looked up an earache I was having
and it turns out I have two months to live
or possibly a head cold.
We are here today
to celebrate the life
of Martin Greengrass
father, grandfather, dear friend.
And I, Nathan, his eldest grandson,
have been chosen-
to give his eulogy.
Where do I begin?
Boy was he old.
Also, apparently eulogy is from
the Greek word "to praise."
Or possibly "to die."
I'm not sure, as I just looked that one up
on my phone.
If I appear a bit nervous
it's because I am.
The thing is
I have never given a eulogy.
But I wrote something last night
and put it on my desk
next to the work presentation
I have later today
to our agency's Coffee Mate client.
And so what I have here
is, in fact, my Coffee Mate presentation.
The irony, of course, is that Martin loved Coffee Mate.
The original flavor
but also French vanilla, Irish crme,
and our newest flavor,
I would now like to open it up for questions
as well as Coffee Mate's marketing strategy for Q4.
Here comes someone whose name I should know
We have met so many times
you and I.
And yet I have no idea
what your name is
as I stand
inane grin on my face.
Do you have a name?
Here you come
calling my name
as well as the names of my wife
and dog, Fortinbras.
Which I kind of can't believe you remember.
My God, you're almost here.
And I will need to introduce you
to the person next to me
whose name may be Beth. Or Valentina. I'm not sure.
Here's a quick thought.
Not about your name
but about the urge I have right now
to just start running.
That would be a weird thing to do, though,
at a children's birthday party.
But not as weird as what I do.
Which is stuff two cupcakes
into my mouth
so as not to be able to speak
but almost immediately choke
on your face.
Ohmigod, Alan, Beth/Valentina shouts.
His name is Alan.
Which I will now never forget.
Am I meditating yet?
Am I doing this right
trying to empty my mind
or clear my mind
or not think
or just be.
I forget which.
The thoughts aren't real
according to the voice
on the meditation app.
They're just clouds floating by.
Wait. Does that mean it's going to rain?
Watch them go by.
Soft, floating clouds.
Smile at the clouds.
Fake smile. Sadness.
Be late for work.
Never work again.
Become homeless and die on the streets in your own filth.
Or balloons, the voice says.
Thoughts are like balloons.
Gently pop the thought.
But if you pop a balloon
the sound is very loud and makes children cry.
I hate that sound.
Will I ever have children?
Sometimes I am impotent in the bedroom.
Day one, completed.
Yes. Hi. Adam?
I don't know how to start a conversation.
You have beautiful breasts.
Do you want a drink?
A beer would be great.
I'm having beer, too. Ha. You're shorter than I imagined. So nervous.
Ha. Are you laughing at me? I hate my own face. Have you been here before?
To this bar? No. Nope. So Tina tells me you're in marketing? Do you like that?
I hate it. But I'm too afraid to leave because I have no self-esteem. You?
I'm not really sure what my company does. Sometimes at work I just sit in the stall in the ladies' room and cry.
My penis is small and shaped weird and looks like a baby turtle. I heard it's supposed to snow later. I like snow.
I love snow. I hate sex though. So . . . That's a nice watch.
Thanks. It was incredibly expensive and I regretted buying it almost immediately. I bought it to feel love I never received from my mother. But it is water resistant.
I hate my sister so much.
Want to share an appetizer? I use masturbation to avoid anxiety.
Sure. I'm going to stay seated, though, because I like to punch my thighs in the face, if that makes sense.
Okay. Did I mention I'm terrified of public bathrooms?
This is so much worse than I thought it would be. Tequila?
A friend hasn't texted me back yet and I am totally fine with that
It's fine. She's busy. Who isn't busy?
It's just that it's been a few days
and it was an awesome picture
of my appetizer
at a restaurant.
She could have at least hearted it.
I mean, it's a nice photo if you like arugula (which she does).
It's fine. Is it though?
Two days. Nothing. Well, a day and a half, technically.
And she definitely saw it.
Read. The text said Read.
So I know she read it.
And then ignored it.
Laughed at my photo of my appetizer which,
sure, appeared to just be arugula, but it also had beets and shaved Parmesan.
And now I'm an asshole.
Maybe this nice-person faade was total crap.
I should have trusted my gut when I initially liked her
but then wondered if she was too nice.
She's a horrible person.
And I should tell her that.
A text from her. Finally.
So hey. My grandmother died.
That would explain things.
Still. Commenting on my salad would have killed her?
Incredibly relaxed at the beach with the kids
Look at me
at the beach
with the kids
slathered in sunscreen
as I sit huddled under an umbrella
hiding all skin from the sun
which I am enjoying
but also deeply aware of its cancer-causing rays.
The ocean looks lovely
but also deadly.
Riptides jellyfish sharks
Well. Not for some time now. But still.
Get away from the water! I scream at the children
without realizing I was going to scream.
This is so much fun. The beach.
Sand in my sandwich.
I have forgotten my sunglasses
and my retinas feel like they are melting.
Traffic home will be bad.
I saw a T-shirt once.
Life's a beach. And then you die.
It might have said life's a bitch. Not beach.
I have bad vision.
Which, come to think of it, could also be glaucoma.
I am having a party
and so many of my old friends are here.
Anxiety, look at you sweating.
Say hello to my good friend Embarrassment.
I think you both met in junior high.
And over here by himself
facing the wall
is my friend Shame.
that his fly is down
and cream cheese is on his face
is my dear friend
And what a treat!
Self-loathing just walked in.
I haven't seen you since I looked in the mirror this morning.
And you brought Regret.
I wish you hadn't.
That was a joke.
Job interview thank-you note
Thank you again
for taking the time
to meet with me this morning.
And also respecting my schedule
by cutting our thirty-minute interview
to just seven minutes.
I am glad you were able to see
in that remarkably short window
how much I would love the opportunity
to work for your company.
I would also like to apologize
for complimenting the photo
of your grandmother
on your desk.
I did not realize that she was
I should add that I often laugh
when I am nervous
which was why I was laughing
as I was escorted from the building.
I look forward to hearing from you.
My condolences (and a few other things)
I am so sorry for your loss
I said to the family members
when I finally made it
to the front of the line.
And I was.
I was also sorry
that the line was so long
which I also mentioned.
How it had been, like,
Forty-five minutes and my legs
were killing me.
I should not have used the phrase killing me.
But the casket was open
and I was sure I saw something move
and was briefly startled
in the way seeing a ghost can startle you.
Or make you almost wet yourself.
The problem was I mentioned that too.
Also that I almost wet myself (which I may have a bit)
because I thought I saw the body moving.
(Turns out it didn't.)
they had already been crying a bit
before I got to the front of the line.
Though perhaps not quite so loudly.
Have a nice day
At school drop-off
one of the moms said
"Have a nice day!"
And I thought
What the hell did she mean by that?
Does she think I don't have nice days?
Was she being sarcastic?
Does she not think I'm nice?
She kind of hit the word day
as if to say
Have a nice day, you freak.
Did I say something wrong?
Why did she use the word nice?
Does she think my days aren't normally nice?
Maybe it was the have.
Have a nice day.
What does that even mean?
Like I don't have any purpose to my days?
I'll tell you what I have now.
I have a headache and a pit in my stomach
thanks to that bomb you just dropped on me.
So thanks for that.
You have a nice day too!
That's what I should have said.
Teacher's note home about the upcoming second-grade field trip
We are so excited about the upcoming field trip.
A few gentle reminders.
The bus will leave promptly at 8:20am.
Children arriving later than 8:20am will not be allowed on the bus.
It is imperative that no one brings anything that has nuts.
I'm not kidding. Don't do it. I swear to God.
This includes anything with the word nuts
even if it is a child's stuffy named "Peanut."
(That stuffy has been confiscated.)
Also eggs or any egg product or anything made with eggs or egg-shaped toys.
Nothing with sugar or sugar substitutes.
No store-bought fruit.
There will be no plastic on the bus.
This includes plastic bags, plastic water bottles, plastic toys.
There will be no speaking on the bus.
Children who speak on the bus will be removed from the bus and left by the side of the road.
The trip to the museum is approximately twenty minutes in length.
Due to liability, at no point will the children be allowed in the museum.
They can look at the museum from a distance of no closer than one hundred feet.
No photos or drawings.
Any child who sings will be punished.
Thank you and we are so excited!
Today is going to be a great day
I know that because
that's what my daily affirmation app says.
Today is going to be a great day, Helen!
It knows my name
and uses exclamation points
which annoy me a little.
So far, though,
today has kind of sucked.
Yesterday my affirmation said
I love and accept myself!
Which, I have to admit, did not pan out.
(I didn't and I don't.)
The day before that was
I can handle anything life throws at me.
Well, that's true.
If the line had continued
. . . by crying and curling into a ball under my desk at work.
I have some ideas for daily affirmations.
I will wet myself a bit when a car tailgates me and leans on the horn, surprising me.
If you see someone you know and they haven't seen you, hiding behind a bush is perfectly acceptable behavior.