Beyond Blue

No need to buy a parrot when you have an inquisitive five-year-old boy.

“What does ‘stressed out’ mean, Mom?” asked David the other day. “You and Dad say it all the time.”

“It means…’tired,'” I answered.

“Then I’m stressed out,” he said, with no smirk on his face.

“What do you possibly have to be stressed out about?” I thought. “That the orange marker is drying up and Katherine stole your Superman gummies?”

Then again, why am I so stressed out? I have a roof over my head, a bed to sleep in, and food in the fridge–a lot more than millions of people in this country and billions of others overseas have.

But the applicants for stress camp are many. According to a recent AP poll, about three quarters of people in the United States, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, South Korea, and the United Kingdom say they experience stress on a daily basis.

Here’s what Americans worry about: finances (34 percent), jobs (26 percent), family life (16 percent), and health (15 percent).

If multiple jobs, long commutes, and increasingly complex technology are prominent factors causing stress, as they are reported to be, then modern industrial democracies are in trouble.

I think we all ought to go color with an orange marker and steal a Superman gummy. But I guess even then, we’d be stressed out.

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