What, me worry?

Published 12:50 pm Wednesday, November 3, 2021

One of the funniest faces, other than mine, that I remember is that of Alfred E. Neuman. I don’t really expect too many readers to remember Alfred E. (the E stands for enigma) Neuman, but he was the funny face on the cover of Mad Magazine. His hair always need to be combed, there were a few freckles on his round face, his ears were huge and stuck out and he had gap in the middle of his teeth. Trust me, his was a funny face!

The magazine is no longer in publication, but for many decades, beginning in 1956, Mad Magazine was the “go to” magazine for teenagers and people who loved satire poked at the nation’s serious subjects. Neuman is famous for his recurring expression, “What, Me Worry?”

If the peak years of that magazine’s history (the 1960’s and 70’s) produced any crises, the number of problems we have today would make it seem like that past world was a walk in the park. I counted the other day and we have 1,352 crises. That’s the same number of crises as Nashville has guitar pickers, according to John Sabastian, the songwriter of “Nashville Cats.”

Here’s another number for you. As I write this, we have 53, give or take, more days until Christmas. I only mention that because our current administration has advised us to get on the stick buying our Christmas gifts for our children. In fact, according to the administration, if we don’t buy the toys now, the shelves might be empty in just a few weeks.

To which I say, “What, Me Worry?” I’m not worried about toys made in China on container ships floating in the Pacific Ocean. Now, toilet paper and aspirin; that’s another question.

I’m past the age for buying toys for children, but even if I were not, I still wouldn’t be worried. Why? Doesn’t everyone remember that all toys for Christmas are made, not in China, but at the North Pole? And are they unloaded at California docks and then transported throughout the nation on eighteen wheelers?

No, there will be no supply chain interruptions for toys for tots. The only transportation that is needed is a Santa Claus, a sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer. I’m sure you all remember this from your childhood.

I have one of those little balls with snow in it that gives me a view of Santa’s workshop and the North Pole toy factory. I was a little disconcerted, though, to see the “We’re Hiring” sign when I shook the little ball up to make it snow.

I called Jolly Ole Saint Nick and asked, “What’s up with the ‘Help Wanted’ signs?”

Right off, I could tell Santa was in no laughing mood. There was no little round belly shaking like a bowl full of jelly. The round man was having trouble with the elves not wanting to work.

“The word gets around,” he said. “The elves heard that workers in your country were getting paid not to work. All they want to do is sit around, eating peppermint sticks and watching the video loop of “Charlie Brown Christmas.”

“Plus, because of the pandemic last year, I have mandated that they get the vaccine. Half of the elves have told me, ‘We’re not getting the jab.’ I’m getting too old for this!”

“But Santa,” I replied, “the children are counting on you. Even Dr. Fauci said we could have Christmas this year. We’re going to skip Thanksgiving because the turkeys cost too much, but a holiday season without a Christmas tree and toys, well that would be too much to miss.”

Santa ended our conversation with a “Don’t worry, where there’s a will, there’s a way!”