This might come as a surprise to those of you who know me now, but I worried a lot as a kid.
I worried about everything. Grades, scary older kids, angry dogs, you name it. This time of year was especially tough. I was never sure if I had been good enough for Santa. I thought I was pretty good, but good enough for presents good? Good all year? And who knows what exaggerations and lies my parents told him if they talked? Consequently, I was such a ball of nerves that I ended up throwing up every Christmas Eve night. This probably forced my parents to tell me the truth about Santa much earlier than they wanted to, but it was either that or clean up puke every December 24th.
I remember having some Star Wars science book where publishers tricked little kids into learning by having C3PO and R2D2 explain scientific facts. At some point C3PO describes how the sun will eventually burn out, taking out the earth and everyone you love with it.
Well, I'm sure it was phrased differently, but that's what I got out of it. I was a nerdy kid (again, I'm sure that surprised you), so I had already heard this fact and knew that it would take billions of years for the sun to explode. Still, having C3PO relay this fact made it seem much more real. I mean, if you can't trust a fussy golden robot, who can you trust?
My parents were teachers, so to calm me down they explained that a billion years was a very, very long time, and by that time I would be long dead and forgotten, along with all my friends, family and pets.
I'm sure they explained it much better than that, but that's what I took away from our talk.
I worried about the sun all summer long. What if C3P0's calculations were wrong? What if it burned out next month? Or tomorrow? It seems pretty hot today, you don't think the sun is getting ready to explode today, do you? And this whole dying thing opened up a whole new avenue of worry.
I was smart enough to realize this stuff was actually pretty stupid to worry about, so I kept my thoughts to myself, which is a strategy I would continue to employ up to the present day.
I continued to worry about stuff, but not as much after I found a medication that suited me (a combination of gin and tonics and ignoring problems until I blew up once a year), and am now the cool, calm reasonable person you know and love.
Thanks for ruining my childhood, dick.