An Antidote to High Anxiety

My Dear Friends,

The woman in the closet video is definitely a reminder that you are not alone.  And if, during this pandemic crisis, you haven’t experienced some paranoia, then please check your pulse because you probably don’t have one.

I don’t know about you guys, but my anxiety level is an up and down affair, and lately mostly up. The more tuned in I am to the current events of the day with news briefings, emails from political organizations that accurately highlight the criminal ineptitude of the current Senate and administration, the more increased my blood pressure. However, as I prepare to pack and fly north, I recognize even more how the pressure is rising.

Even though… (to the tune of 🎶IRVING BERLIN’S TOP HAT 🎶)

🎶I’m putting on my hazmat suit 🎶

🎶Packing up my wipe wipes🎶

🎶Gloves and masks in place🎶

And I am totally serious. (Photos of flight day to be shared later.) But with every item secured, the pressure went up a notch.

I thought to myself:  “Self! You are making yourself sick.”

What to do???

And in a flash it came to me. Stop thinking of yourself.  If I thought the quarantine was a challenge to my mental health, just try focusing only on yourself.  STIFLING! BORING! CRUEL AND INHUMAN!

The operative word is inhuman. I understand survival is numero uno. However, I have come to realize without caring for friend, neighbor, family, we revert to the animal. And all you animal activists, I recognize the many animals that can make the human seem more selfish than most in the animal kingdom, so please don’t yell at me. I’m just saying that I think we have a more developed brain – not to be more selfish and “what about me?”, but to think of OTHERS.  What a concept… think of others. 

Well, I’m here to tell you that as my pressure was hitting a high point I remembered a friend of mine was going through a very rough time. It hadn’t anything to do with the virus. It was a very private misery. I literally stopped thinking about myself and thought about what she was going through.  I wrote to her of my feelings for what she was going through. I didn’t even know it at the time… but, something lifted. Yes, and the pressure dropped. I got it. 

The next time I begin to take myself too seriously I shall get out from under my own microscope. Unfortunately, these days, I cannot go ‘round with a real care package and hug.  It’s the virtual picnic hamper, the virtual hug, the virtual everything.  But don’t forget the real phone call… human vocal chords can work wonders. 

For me, after thinking of others the next best way to distract me from me is to watch good funny movies.

Of late because I am old, I have focused on, for some, unheard of gems.  And I only realized recently there was a master hand behind many of them. He is my very personal (though he doesn’t know it) 2,000 years older than me friend, Mel Brooks.  These are movies that he didn’t necessarily write or perform in, but it’s his absurd sometimes not so funny and always irreverent humor rooting around in the mix of the movie.

The In Laws movie, circa 1979 with Peter Falk and Alan Arkin.

The In Laws movie, circa 2003 with Michael Douglas and Albert Brooks

My Favorite Year, circa 1982 with Peter O’Toole

Ishtar, circa 1980’s.  A major flop in the 1980’s and now it is a cult movie written and directed by Elaine May (and occasionally, Buck Henry) with Warren Beatty, Dustin Hoffman and Charles Grodin. Fantastically prescient about the coming trouble in the middle east and oh, so funny.Makes Wag The Dog look like a sitcom.

Bowfinger, circa 1999 starring Steve Martin and Eddie Murphy (when he was funny)

Waiting For Guffman, circa 1997, directed by Christopher Guest and written by Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy with Catherine O’Hara in the cast (previous to Schitt’s Creek fame)

And last and probably least…

So Fine, circa 1981, starring Ryan O’Neal and if you don’t blink Sally-Jane Heit as a brunette in a scene in Bergdorf Goodman; written by Andrew Bergman of the 1979 In Laws and other comedies.

And just so you don’t think I’m too old to appreciate the new…

After Life streaming on Netflix written by and starring Ricky Gervais. He has definitely got his finger on the pulse of the human condition and he is VERY funny!

Like they always say:  What goes around comes around. Or, is it what comes around goes around? Either way have a laugh on me and always…

stay sane, stay safe, stay distant……

Love, Sally-Jane ❤️

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