Since I’m a Jew, a member of the tribe with the runaway tongues who worries about everything under the sun that is totally meaningless and unimportant, here’s what I constantly get from loved ones trying to help:

“Let it go, Bernie. Don’t absorb it.”

 

Don’t you think if I could, I would?

 

“Relax.”

 

Again, don’t you think if I could, I would? Advising a Jew to relax is like asking a narcoleptic to Hell, just get up off his ass, Man up, if you catch my drift. It’s like asking a paraplegic to try jogging. No legs? Hell, take off without ’em. You’re brain-dead? Here, try this calculus problem, give it a go, Bubba., that’s the American Way.

 

Here’s my favorite: “Get a hobby.”

 

Sure, that ought to do it. Four thousand years of anxiety, and the solution to worrying over nothing is photography? Besides, fishing makes me anxious. Too much time there to start fretting again. Golf? A Jew playing golf is a country-club Jew, playing at being a Gentile, all casual, everything in hand, everything under control, not a care in the world. Sure.

 

I told my wife Martha that such comments were unhelpful, dismissive, and that people who made them were trying to “fix” me, which is another way of saying they didn’t want to feel my pain, that they lacked empathy, and that, I concluded, is what is wrong with the world.

 

“No empathy for a man who spends his life worrying, in his words, over ‘absolutely nothing?’ Get over it.”

 

“Get over it?’

 

Right. I married a Gentile, a real one. Mom warned me about this. ‘Get over it’?

 

“Don’t you think if I could, I would?”

 

“Sure, where’s the remote? My program’s on.”

 

“Martha, you’re not listening.”

 

“Don’t you think if I could, I would?”

 

Good point, don’t you agree?