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I Used To Be One Of The World's Biggest Jackasses



I have died more times from more different diseases than any other man, living, dead, or half dead.

I was no ordinary hypochondriac. My father owned a drugstore, and I was practically brought up in it. I talked to doctors and nurses every day, so I knew the names and symptoms of more and more diseases than the average layman. I was no ordinary hypo-I had symptoms! I could worry for an hour or two over a disease and then have practically all the symptoms of a man who was suffering from it. I recall once that, in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, the town in which I lived, we had a rather severe diphtheria epidemic. In my father's drugstore, I had been selling medicines day after day people who came from infected homes. Then the evil that I feared came upon me: I had diphtheria myself. I was positive I had it. I went to bed and worried myself into the standard symptoms. I send for a doctor. He looked me over and said, "Yes, Percy, you've got it." That relived my mind. I was never afraid of any disease when i had it-so I turned over and went to sleep. The next morning I was in perfect health.

For years, I distinguished myself and got a lot of attention and sympathy by specializing in unusual and fantastic diseases-I died several times of both lockjaw and hydrophobia. Later on, I settled down to having the run-of-mill ailments-specializing in cancer and tuberculosis.

I can laugh about it now, but it was tragic then. I honestly and literally feared for years that I was walking on the edge of the grave. When it came time to buy a suit of clothes in the spring, I would ask myself: "Should I waste this money when I know I cant possibly live to wear this suit out?"

However, I am happy to report progress: in the past ten years, I haven't died even once.

How did I stop dying? By kidding myself out of my ridiculous imaginings. Every time I felt the dreadful symptoms coming on, I laughed at myself and said: "See here, Whiting, you have been dying from one fatal disease after another now for twenty years, yet you are in first-class health today. An insurance company recently accepted you for more insurance. Isn't it about time, Whiting, that you stood aside and had a good laugh at the worrying jackass you are?"

I soon found that I couldn't worry about myself and laugh at myself at one and the same time. So I've been laughing at myself ever since.

The point of this is: Don't take yourself too seriously. Try just laughing at some of you sillier worries, and see if you cant laugh them out of existence.


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