Rednecks rarely suffer from stress-related disorders.
There is a lot not to like about rednecks. They tend to vote for bombastic populist demagogues, who often enact policies against their own interests. They stoke the culture of belligerence with violent and aggressive behavior and posturing. They remove the exhaust system from every internal combustion engine they own. They tend to collect a lot of junked cars and garbage around their trailers. They collect more in welfare and government benefits than all the inner-city folks combined. But one thing you never see a redneck doing - getting stressed out about anything.
Most of us have to deal with anxiety of one sort or another. For many, it is crippling. But the redneck simply doesn't care. Jet ski headed toward the pier? Car skidding out of control? Just hit the throttle and yell "Yee-Haw!" - that's the redneck way. And oddly enough, with jet skis and in some cars, hitting the gas is the right idea, to steer out of the way, or avoid lift-throttle oversteer.
It struck me, though, that there is something to admire, or at least think about, in this "who gives a damn?" attitude. You can spend your whole life worrying about things, or you can just accept them and move on.
And often, I see people - often smart, middle-class or upper-class people - think themselves to death. They are so smart they cannot turn their brains off on occasion and just mellow out. Anxiety disorders result. People become so paralyzed by fear that they cannot act or do. And fear is never an emotion to be trusted.
Driving in West Virginia, on rural roads, can be challenging, particularly to a flatlander. Shoulders don't exist, and if you go over the fog line, odds are, you are going into a 4-foot ditch, or off the edge of a cliff. In some places, one whole lane of the road may be washed out. And yet, people live and work this way, commuting to a job, or going to the store, often at what seem like breakneck speeds. If you stop to think about the consequences of even one small mis-step, well, you'd be paralyzed. But if you concentrate on your driving (as opposed to, say, texting) you realize that the risks are pretty small, provided you concentrate on your driving. Texting and driving isn't very popular on these back roads.
You just have to let go of worry and move on with life - concentrate on what is within your control and simply don't worry about what isn't. Because if you think about it, you can't really do much about things you can't control. It is the serenity prayer.
It struck me, flying down these back roads, towing a trailer, inches from disaster, that maybe we can learn something from rednecks. To stop over-thinking things and just let go, sometimes. Because you can't control everything and fate plays a large hand in your life. Better to concentrate on those things you can control than to worry about what you can't. I can't change the roads, but I can change my driving. As for the rest, just let go and shout, "Yee-Haw!"