Recently, someone asked me off-handedly if I was a hypochondriac. I’m pretty sure he expected my answer would be “no.” He doesn’t know me that well yet. My answer was actually, “Well, sure. Not about everything. Just about the things that can kill me. Like, I’m not worried about Lyme disease, but I am worried about rabies.” What I was trying to tell him, I guess, is that I am not a classic hypochondriac in the sense that I’m worried about my health all the time. I don’t worry about my life, exactly. I worry about my death. I really don’t want to die. So, naturally, I am obsessed with all things death and all the different ways that I might possibly die.
I am not alone in this. Woody Allen recently wrote an Op-Ed in the New York Times in which he wrote, “I am always certain I’ve come down with something life threatening. It matters little that few people are ever found dead of chapped lips. Every minor ache or pain sends me to a doctor’s office in need of reassurance that my latest allergy will not require a heart transplant, or that I have misdiagnosed my hives and it’s not possible for a human being to contract elm blight.” He then went on to talk about how his wife still gives him hickeys, which made me VERY UNCOMFORTABLE, but I guess it’s good that old people have sex? I should grow the fuck up. No doubt about it.
But so anyway, I personally don’t worry about chapped lips. I worry about other stuff. And, it’s actually stuff that just about everyone with any imagination at all should be worried about too. I’ve put together a list for you, so we can worry together. Us and Woody and his hickey-giving wife.