Oh keep your damned jack …

Years ago, when I was much younger and under the impression that I was much wiser, I had a revelation. The revelation was the result of wishful thinking, the associated anticipation that always resulted, and the subsequent disappointment when the anticipated occurrence failed to materialize. On the other hand life seemed to be filled with events that were totally unforeseen.
Who knows how many years I engaged in what Granny referred to as daydreaming, and never, not one single solitary time, did the wishful thoughts materialize into reality. Instead, life seemed to be a never-ending series of unexpected events. I finally reached a conclusion that would become a never-ending source of unhappiness.
I concluded that since dreams never materialized into happy events and unhappy events were always seemed to be the result of a failure to anticipate, that I should forever give up anticipating a bright future and instead concentrate on all the things that could conceivably go wrong. It was my own version of reverse psychology.
If I found myself daydreaming about a possible happy event, I would immediately force myself to conjure up every conceivable disaster imaginable, whether it related to the original daydream or not. The idea of course was that if I concentrated on disaster and unhappy events they would never materialize and it actually seemed to work. Of course, the unintended result was that I was terminally miserable.
In a speech at Wayne State University in the mid ‘60s, Dr. Wayne Dyer described the phenomenon this way: suppose you have a flat tire and find you have no jack, but you have a friend who lives nearby. You start walking to his house and as you walk you began preparing yourself for disappointment like, “he won’t be home”, “he won’t have a jack even if he is home,” “he won’t come to the door,” “he won’t let you borrow the jack even if he is home and answers the door, because you borrowed something else once never returned it.” When you finally get to his home and he comes to the door you are so tuned to the negative, you say, “Oh keep your damned jack.” And you leave without the jack.
Well, that was my life in a nutshell. It should have been no big surprise to find that I was a hopeless alcoholic by the time I was 40 years old. Today I don’t waste time conjuring up potential disasters. Instead, I prefer to focus on actual current disasters, like the flood in my townhouse, and continually remind myself of my all-time favorite saying, “Worry is only the interest you pay on trouble before you have it.”

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