As most of you know by now, I am pretty much out of a job. On the economic front, the stock market dove another four-hundred plus points today. Ford is selling for $1.80 per share. There is a lot of doom and gloom out there in the "big bad world". And as Big Al always used to remind me, "it's scary out there boys and girls." All of this reminds me of another one of my childhood hero's, Alfred E. Neuman.
How many of you remember the old "Mad Magazine"??? Back in the day, their slogan was "25 cents, still cheap". On the front cover was always the same goofy looking freckled-face bastard with red hair, and one or two of his front teeth knocked out, that was Alfred E. Neuman.
In fact in my younger years, numerous friends of mine told me that I bore a striking resemblence to the more well-known, and well loved Alfred E. Neuman. I like to think then and now, that Alfred and I had still have a lot in common. For those of you who may not remember Alfred, I put a picture of him at the top of the post. Alfred is on the left.
Along with having freckles, red hair, and missing front teeth, Alfred and I practiced pretty much the same philosophy.....and Alfred expressed it perfectly - his picture always carried the caption "What? Me Worry?" You see, when you're a poor kid, cursed with freckles and red hair, and you've had the misfortune to knock out your permanent front teeth in an all-out bicycle race (which is another story) you kind of develop a "devil may care attitude toward" life. You kind of get to thinking "what'll they do to me next, take away my birthday?" At least that's the way I thought Alfred and I saw it.
I found this "What? Me Worry?" philosophy to be helpful in many ways. It helped me develop a special kind of self confidence, in that, often times I would think to myself "well, it can't get much worse". And then, sure enough, it would get worse and I would still believe "it can't get too much worse". And then pretty soon I'd find myself joking about the situation. I like to think of this as "innertainment". Once the innertainment hits you, it seems that nothing can stop you...you just kind of "let go"
Here's an innertainment sampler for ya....
- We were so poor, that when I was a little boy, it was a good thing that I was a boy, otherwise I wouln't have had anything to play with.
- We were so poor, that when I was growing up, if a mouse came to our house, he had to bring his own sack lunch.
- We were so poor where we lived, that the rainbow was in black and white.
- We were so poor, that our cockroaches were on food stamps.
- When I was growing up, we were so poor, we couldn't even pay attention.
- When I was growing up, we were so poor, and we had to eat so many armadillos for supper, that to this day if I hear a dog bark, I roll up into a little ball.
- We lived so far back in the sticks, that the 6:00 news didn't come on until 9:30.
- I was so damn homely looking, that I couldn't get lucky in a women's prison with a handful of paroles.
That's probably a good enough sample for most of you.
I believe that Alfred E. helped me to learn to laugh and try to make the best of every situation. Once I had reached this state; "the A.E. Neuman State of Mind" I really begin to understand how "What? Me Worry?" can actually become a guiding principle.If you fully understand "What? Me Worry?" as a guiding principle then you know in your heart that no matter how rough this economy gets, we will still probably have some food to eat, at least a halfway decent place to live, and most importantly good family and friends that we love and who love us back. Finally, I am pretty sure we will always be able to share a laugh or two, every chance we get. What more can you really ask for?
In these tough times "What? Me Worry?" could be a lifesaver, and a lot cheaper than a shrink. I hope this helps you "let go" and laugh a little.
All the best,
If you'd like to see some Alfred's great quotes you can find them here: