What! Me worry?

From Newt’s Notes Column,

Charlie Brown and I have a lot in common.

Besides having friends who tell us to stop worrying so much, I think I’ve started to detect a baseball rash growing on my head.

You see, in one of his many television specials, the main character of the Peanuts comic strip starts worrying a lot because a sudden rash develops on his scattered-hair head that greatly resembles the seam of a baseball. He has no idea why it is there or how to get rid of it.

So Charlie puts a paper bag over his head to hide the rash, but it didn’t go away with time. In fact, pretty soon every round object he sees has a baseball seam.

His first stop for help was his tough-love friend, Lucy, at her psychiatrist’s stand. She tells him to go see a doctor, so Charlie heads to his pediatrician.

“Am I cracking up, doctor? Is this the last of the ninth?” he worries.

Heeding some advice, Charlie goes away to summer camp to get some relaxation. But he worries on the bus all the way there.

But his worries were empty and he finds at camp several things his friends never gave him at home – acceptance, respect and popularity. He is elected camp president, everything he does works and he is happier than he’s ever been.

But there’s only one problem. He isn’t known as Charles Brown at the camp. He’s known as “Mr. Sack” because of his appearance.
Needless to say, Charlie’s head itching stops one morning and he is faced with an even greater dilemma.

“Maybe my rash has gone away,” he says. “If it has, I can take this stupid grocery sack off my head. Of course, then I probably wouldn’t be camp president and more, either. On the other hand, I can’t wear this sack for the rest of my life.”

He gets up early one morning to see the sun rise and figures the only way to know if he’s cured is to see if the sun still resembles a baseball.

So he goes outside, worries some more about whether or not he’s cured, and when the much-anticipated sun rises, it is nothing more than the famous Alfred E. Newman Mad Magazine face and the simple expression, “What! Me worry?”

And Charlie Brown’s reaction? “Good, grief.”

The moral to Charlie Brown’s little escapade is to stop worrying and enjoy life. Sounds so simple, doesn’t it? That’s the advice I receive from my editor, Les Cockrell, every day.

But ceasing all worry is one of the hardest things for a person to do.

There’s the job, the finances, the groceries, the car, my church, the seminary school, the guitar learning, and the apartment to worry over every day. Add to that my serious lack of a social life and what is there to not worry about?

But then I think of Charlie Brown, who had a lot more legitimate things to worry about than I, yet despite those worries, somehow managed to move on with his life.

For example, there was that dastardly kite-eating tree. Every time Charlie Brown wanted to relax and enjoy an excursion into the atmosphere, the tree would grab his kite, chew it up and spit out the string.

The closest I ever came to living that worry was a ball-eating bush out back of one of my childhood homes. Every time I threw a baseball wildly the ball would head straight for the bush and disappear. I even thought I heard a snicker coming from that plant once.

And then there was that empty mailbox. Charlie Brown never received any mail and never understood why.

“Thanks for the Christmas card you sent me, Violet,” he sarcastically told one of his classmates.

“I didn’t send you a Christmas card, Charlie Brown,” she coldly responded.

I never get any mail either, except for bills and junk mailings. I’m beginning to wonder if they could put my social mail on one of those missing person cards.

Charlie Brown had other worries, like his longing for companionship from his ungrateful dog, his unfulfilled love for Heather – the little red haired girl, his low self-esteem, his unfulfilled baseball dream, and his innocent heart longing for good in a shrewd world.
Though I shared a lot of these worries with Charlie Brown in the past, one lesson I have become convinced of is that worrying will not add one more day to my life. But it will certainly make the days I am currently living less enjoyable.

So maybe I need to go outside early one morning, let God handle my worries (For he is much more capable of handling them than I am), look at the sunrise, and say out loud, “What! Me worry?”

Maybe then this Charlie Brown can start enjoying life a little more.


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