I walked down to the park
just the other day.
It wasn’t very cloudy outside
and the sun was shining high
in the bright June sky.
I stopped to chat awhile
with a guy who looked pretty worried.
I said, “Hey there dude!
What’s troubling you?
He said, “My God! Don’t you see the news every day?
The world is a dangerous, dangerous place!
He said, “I got back from New York just last summer.
There were so many crusty lookin’ people!
The place scared the livin’ shit out of me!
He looked around quickly, then continued on.
He said, “I got so worried,
I bought three extra boxes of bullets
for my gun just before I left town!”
I said, “Well, I agree there’s some dangerous places
in this old world.
There’s war zones in a few countries
and there’s places like the Sudan
where complete chaos reigns.
There’s always been places like that
and there probably always will be.
But maybe you ought ask yourself
how many bullets you actually used
when you shot your way out of downtown Manhattan?
He looked at me surprised,
“None,” he said
“And how many bullets
do you think you’ll actually use today
when you shoot your way home from the grocery store?” I asked
“None.” he said
He thought for a minute
then he chuckled a little and said,
“You know, all those boxes of bullets I bought in New York
have been sitting in the back of my closet unopened
goin’ on eight months now.
They’re right beside a couple of unopened boxes
I bought two years ago in May
And how many bullets
do you think you’ll probably use
by the end of the next month
as you shoot your way to work every day?” I asked
“Not a damn one,” he grinned.
I smiled back,“Well, it sounds to me
like the only place you ever go
where there’s piles and plies of bullets
is the back of your closet.
And even there, there is really no need.”
So many people lookin’ for monsters
under every rock.
So many cops with their hand on their guns
every time they stop some old lady
for drivin’ forty miles per hour in a thirty-five zone.
So many people go through their lives
every day always worried
somethin’ bad is gonna happen in the next five seconds.
Every night they go to sleep worried.
Every day they wake up scared of their own shadow.
Eighty years go by
and they become worried old men and women
Maybe by the time they’re eighty-one
they’ll figure out
it’s far better to pay close attention to your everyday life
than it is to pay close attention to your anxiety.
Dewey Dirks—copyright 2009