The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, February 13, 1995, Page 5, Image 5

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Monday, February 13,1995 Page 5
World needs more worriers
Some people are professional
worriers. They’re always bringing
up the negative side of things and
the less pleasant aspects of life.
They always make their point by
basing their worries on what
happened in the past.
They’re always reminding
people about what “might” happen
and usually have a good example of
some past event on which to base
their worry. Instead of just letting
things happen, a worrier looks for
danger signs and makes everybody
else miserable by bringing up stuff
like the Holocaust or what to do
about illegal immigration.
Without the worriers of the
world, though, we’d be lost. It’s
probably better for a worrier to be
wrong than right. For example,
having a person worry about
wnetner anotner Holocaust could
happen is better than having no one
to worry about it at all.
The people who are worried
about the economic effects of illegal
immigration may be wrong about
whether Mexicans are taking jobs
from Americans. But I’d rather
have someone worried about it than
no one at all. The subject of illegal
immigration brings attention to
other big problems about the
economy and the entire Western
Hemisphere. In that way, worriers'
are a useful pain in the neck to keep
around. I’ve never met any one who
lost a job to an illegal immigrant.
But I’ve led a sheltered life. It’s
easy for me to speculate.
Some friends of mine and I used
to play a guessing game of imagin
ing what other people might say
about the topics about which we
worried most. For example we
might ask, “What would a right
wing conservative say to a Native
American about freedom, democ
racy and the American way of life?”
It seemed obvious to me that
when a Native American is re
E. Hughes Shanks
minded of American “freedom” and
“democracy,” they also get worried.
I could be wrong, and it isn’t just a
game to them.
It’s tiring to always be thinking
about the fate of the world. Being
the worrier that I am, however, I
worry more what will happen if I
stop worrying. To some, the basic
principles of “freedom” and
“democracy” are worth being
worried about.
It would be nice to just relax and
forget about the world and its
problems. Worriers get tired of
hearing themselves make the same
points over and over again — even
though we know we’re right. It’s
just that sometimes I’d like to let
others do the work of worrying
about the world. The world needs
more worriers.
There are times when I’d rather
just let someone else worry.
Someone who I hope could best
represent my views. I’d be willing
to take a break from life-and-death
matters, as long as I could pick who
would worry for me. It would have
to be someone who isn’t afraid of a
little controversy, but doesn’t go
looking for it. Someone who isn’t
afraid to talk about things that
make people feel uncomfortable.
If I’m going to take a break from
worry ing^want to-know my views
will still be heard. A true worrier
would be concerned about that. A
worrier needs to be someone who
isn’t afraid to remind people of the
less positive sides of things, even
though they know people will get
mad at them for doing it. This is
not a job for the timid.
Take, for example, the job of
worrying about right-wing ideol
ogy, which says that the United
States should lead the causes of
“freedom” and “democracy”
throughout the world.
A worrier is needed to keep that
kind of talk in check. A true
worrier needs to be there and
remind people about the complete
history of “freedom” and “democ
racy” in this country. I think I
know the kind of person who would
be just right for that job.
If I had my pick, I think I might
like to have a Native American
worrier do it. It really gets to right
wingers when you mention Native
Americans, because there is no way
lojusuiy Killing someone ana
taking their house away. Native
Americans know all about “free
dom” and “democracy.” They
didn’t get any!
There might be a slight problem
with a Native American being able
to remain objective. But then, how
can the believers of right-wing
ideology remain objective about
“freedom” and “democracy” if they
deny that Native Americans were
denied “freedom” and “democ
Then again, maybe a Native
American doesn’t really need to
“worry” about what might happen.
Maybe they don’t even want to
think about it. A Native American
already knows what can happen.
How would I know what it means to
be Native American, anyway? I
think I’ll just keep worrying and do
the talking for myself.
Worrier rhymes with warrior.
Shanks Is a graduate student and Dally
Nebraskan columnist
Simple things fill life’s book
I saw a wonderful Kodak film
commercial the other day, so
naturally I found myself in a very
reflective and philosophical mood. I
began to examine myself as a human
creature and to look closely at what I
have accomplished in my 24 years.
When reflecting upon my life
and what I have accomplished, I
like to consider my existence as
being a book. The problem with
this metaphor (or is it an allegory?
It’s all Greek under the bridge to
me, anyway) is that no one knows
how heavy the book may be on the
right side; no one can tell how
many pages are left to be turned.
In my case, I may be strangled
by my Body-By-Jake machine
tomorrow, and that’s it. No more
for this bad boy.
And I would cringe at how my
book of life would be critiqued in a
freshman literature class.
Todd s Lire, A Novelette, had
a little potential,” one student
would say. “I did enjoy Chapter 4,
‘Dances With Tall Girls, or The
Junior High Days,’ but overall, I
would say that there should have
been more, much more.”
Because of this fear that my life
book would be treated so harshly in
Literature 101,1 initially made the
decision that I would live, from
now on, as though I was on the last
page of my book. As though I was
reading the last paragraph, where I
would find out if the butler did in
fact commit the murder.
My initial response to my internal
fears was, “Carpe diem! Seize the
day!” Then I began to think about the
consequences of living as though
today were my last day.
If today really was my last day, I
imagine that I would bungee jump,
sky dive, purchase a high-powered
motorcycle and run down the
middle of O Street completely
Todd Elwood
naked. Then after lunch ...
Obviously, if I wanted to keep
myself alive, out of prison and with
any form of bank account left, then
living as though it were my last day
probably would not be the wisest
decision. In fact, that lifestyle
would probably propel me toward
my actual last moments quicker
than I would prefer.
The answer to this dilemma, I’ve
decided, seems to lie somewhere
between living a mundane existence
and living with reckless abandon.
The answer is finding simple
pleasures and appreciating them for
what they are.
My lovely wife, for example,
hates long car trips. But when we
are forced to travel a great distance,
she finds pleasure by looking at
mailboxes. Some mailboxes along
the highway are amusing, shaped as
tractors, farmers, ice cream cones
and such things, and she finds a
simple pleasure in this.
She has the right idea. The trick
is to be able to pick out simple
pleasures in your life. I find my
simple pleasures in many things,
but I don’t think I’ve really appre
ciated them until now.
I enjoy finding a dollar bill in a
pair of pants, especially if they are
my pants. I find simple pleasure
when I’m driving in the rain, and
the speed of the windshield wipers
matches the beat of the song on the
One of my greatest simple
pleasures is finding bonus fries.
This occurs when, after consuming
a fine meal, I notice there are a
couple of french fries left at the
bottom of the bag.
It should be a healthy, lifelong
habit to find these simple pleasures.
You don’t have to look very hard
for them, either. The trick is to
notice them when they happen.
Seeking them out is not necessary,
because they will simply happen.
It is finding these simple
pleasures and reacting to them that
will prohibit any freshman litera
ture class from tearing apart your
life book. It’s screaming, “Yes!
Bonus fries! I love bonus fries!
Yummy!” that makes life exciting.
It is a conscious decision to enjoy
life a little bit more. Most of the time,
that may be a difficult thing to do, but
simple pleasures in life should not go
unappreciated, because they are small
pieces of happiness in a world that
isn’t always happy.
This warm and fuzzy attitude is
kind of new to me, though* sol’m
not sure how well this is going to
work. How many times can I notice
and appreciate bonus fries before it
just gets old? What then? Bonus
chicken nuggets?
Perhaps that is the answer. The
solution is to notice and appreciate
simple pleasures, and if these wear
thin, notice different aspects of your
personal existence that make you
That’s what I’m going to do. I
will, from this point on, be filled ~
with appreciation for the things in
life that give me pleasure. But if
this doesn’t work out, don’t worry
about me, I’ll be the happy lunatic
running down the middle of O
Street completely naked.
Elwood b a senior English and sociology
major and a Dally Nebraskan colnmnlst
Baseball strike no
national emergency
The city of Chicago once
sweated out a strike by
firefighters. It was a very nervous
time. Every building and every
person in those buildings was at
But I don’t remember the
president of the United States
saying he was going to step in
and somehow get the firemen to
return; to work before somebody
burned to death.
As dangerous as the strike
was to Chicagoans, it was a
municipal labor dispute — none
of the federal government’s
business — and it had to be
settled by municipal officials and
the firefighters’ union.
Oyer the years, we’ve gone
through strikes by schoolteachers
in Chicago and its suburbs. The
strikes hurt students, who need
all the help they can get. They
caused difficulties for working
parents. And they weren’t much
fun for the teachers and their
families, either.
But I don’t recall any presi
dent of the United States saying
that he could not stand by while
children were being deprived of
their book learning and house
holds were being disrupted.
i nese strikes were a local
governmental labor dispute and
they Were settled by local
officials and unions.
But unless it creates a national
emergency — and few strikes do
— the president of the United
States doesn’t announce that he
is troubled by all those lint
pocket workers, their nervous
families and businessmen
watching their profits dry up.
Now we appear to have a
national emergency — the
dispute between the millionaire
baseball players and the million
aires who employ them as
President Clinton says he
can’t stand by while the nation
faces the threat of another
summer without major-league
So he assigned an aide to the
job of goosing the players and
the owners into an agreement. He
even set a deadline.
I have to admit feeling
sheepish for failing to notice that
we were experiencing a national
It was a lot more worrisome
when the Chicago firemen
walked out and I discovered that
my garden hose had several
When teachers go on strike,
we see frazzled mothers on TV.
Apparently their suffering isn’t
as severe as that of some grin
ning patron of a sports bar.
I’m sure the baseball strike is
unpleasant for the players and
Mike Royko
their agents. The loss of a season
might force some of these
unfortunate men to wait until
they are a doddering 38 years old
before retiring to a life of golf
and goofing around. Some might
even suffer the embarrassment of
appearing in public wearing last
year’s gold neck baubles.
Yes, there are ordinary
workers who won’t have jobs if
the season is delayed or canceled
— the beer and hot dog vendors,
the ushers, stadium sweepers,
groundskeepers, parking lot
attendants and others.
But hardly a day passes
without corporations announcing
that they are going to “downsize”
their work forces. Often, it
involves giving the boot to far
more skilled workers than all of
the baseball employees.
When that happens —
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households :— the White House
press secretary doesn’t call a
press conference to convey the
president’s grave concerns.
What is it that President
Clinton intends to do now that
the deadline has passed and the
ballplayers are still sitting by
their swimming pools and the
owners are sullenly riding away
in their limousines?
I suppose he could call out the
troops and, as commander in
chief, tell them to get up a big
game of piggy move up.
But with my limited knowl
edge of labor law,it looks like
what we have here is a bottom
line dispute between a lot of
well-paid entertainers, who seem
to believe they are the center of
the universe, and a band of
arrogant and super-rich owners
who know that the sun doesn’t
rise until their morning visit to
the john.
This is a fine opportunity for
President Clinton to demonstrate
strong leadership. We can tell
the nation and the world that if
other countries can survive
famine, earthquakes, terrible
civil wars and revolution, this
nation, under God, of the people,
by the people and for the people,
can endure a few months without
spitting and crotch-scratching.
© 1995 Trlhuae Media Services, Inc.
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Mike Lukovich