Monday, July 7, 2014

"Stress Test"


I must have read a hundred science fiction stories about aliens who come to earth and appear to have very large heads to accommodate their massive intelligence, but are handicapped with spindly little bodies so weak it barely supports the big head.

This morning I was driving around early, running some errands before the heat and humidity come up, and while driving I was listening to NPR.  They were running their Monday morning health segment.  Today's topic was middle class stress.  Well, I was a bit dumbfounded to find what causes our middle class to stress out these days.  Like those spindly legged aliens, Americans these days appear to be so weak-kneed that they can no longer tolerate the most minimums of stress.

One person complained that she was due to go to a birthday party, had, until two hours before the event, forgotten to bake the cake.  After quickly baking and icing the cake, that person entered their apartment elevator and broke down with the shakes, having to rush like that.

A soccer mom lamented that she was extremely stressed about ferrying the kids to soccer practice, youth yoga, little league baseball and ballet lessons.  Another poor soul was near tears about the demands placed on her by social media.  Having to answer phone calls and respond to texts and post what she's doing on Face book and Twittering her opinion about overly sexy prom dresses for her daughter was making her a nervous wreck.  

I don't know.  I can remember what use to stress my family out; it was when you opened the kitchen cupboard and there was nothing left there to eat.  Or having both the gas and electric bill fifteen days over due and threatening letters that the utilities were going to cut off your power and heat.

I spent three years in Vietnam and didn't realize I was wound tighter than a drum until I finally came home.  The stress was so constant that I had learned to suppress it.  When I started hitting the floor when the safe and secure stateside  noon base siren went off I knew some adjustments were in order.
Fatal illness will do the same thing to you.

And today, all over America, tens of thousands of people will begin lining up outside a homeless shelter and hope they got in line early enough to secure one hot and a cot.  I would think that's pretty damn stressful.  How about care giving for a loved one who can no longer care for themselves?  That's stress 24 hours a day.

So I guess I got to apologize for having so little sympathy for middle class folks crippled by their daily stress.  I'm sorry but I just can't relate to last minute birthday cakes and soccer mom syndrome or the woes of having to stay relevant with your social media friends.

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