The same imagination that allows me to create worlds inside the pages of a novel carries its own hazards.
I am a worrier and always have been since I was a child. If there’s nothing pressing, my thoughts may go anywhere.
These days, I sometimes worry if Heather Haley, the Channel 8 meteorologist gets enough sleep. I know she has a small child and she is on first thing in the morning and late in the day, it sometimes seems.
Will I one day run out of words and not have a column ready by deadline?
Will an asteroid that nobody has noticed take out our entire species in a matter of minutes?
When I am not actively worrying, my mind is working on a subject I’ve recently read about: Did Neanderthals and modern human beings really interbreed much earlier than at first believed?
And how much Neanderthal DNA do I have?
Can astronomers actually look back almost to the Big Bang?
At the beach I always watch the tide rise and wonder if it will stop this time or just keep rising?
My worrying started early, so it may be learned behavior. When I was five, the Rev. Roy Arwood at Third Creek Baptist Church painted such a vivid picture of judgment day that for years I watched the horizon constantly for falling brimstone.
At eight, one of my young friends told me about earthquakes causing huge splits into the Earth, sucking houses and people into the fiery center of the globe and I expected it would happen any minute.
By age 12, I had learned about the possibility thermonuclear war and my blood would run cold at the sound of sirens. That one hung around until the Berlin wall went down.
Of late, I imagine the possibility of a President Donald Trump calling North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un a fat, idiotic dwarf while daring him to launch nuclear missiles.
Or the possibility of a President Ted Cruz declaring himself to be the Messiah and ordering everyone to fall down and worship him.
Or even worse, watching half the nation’s citizens obey him.
Worrying doesn’t help, I know, but it keeps me occupied.