The Gospel Truth

High Anxiety or Why I Never Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Obama | November 27, 2012

This last election was enough to make a grown conservative cry.

As if I didn’t have enough to worry about.

Now I have to fear the fiscal cliff, a depressed economy and four more years of his incessant pontificating, sneers and arrogant strutting.

As an aside, my fantasy football team is named the Harlem Stride.

With apologies to Mel Brooks,and Stanley Kubrick, the dominant emotion in my life has been a high anxiety.

I think this has been true since even before I was born at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Greenwich Village.

I was born in the middle of the war…well that was chronological…not locational.

Story of my life

My mother’s brother left for the Pacific in 1942 and didn’t return until late 1945.

I think she was terrified that as a little boy, I would have to go off to war some day.

She always told me that she wanted a girl for that reason.

Maybe that anxiety was fed to me in utero.

She did everything to protect me–but even though I have cute legs, the little dresses were a bit too  much and I started to fear her handling of any kind of cutting instrument.

At the outset of the Great Depression, President Franklin Roosevelt stated that all we have to fear is fear itself.

He never met me.

Never met me!

I remember at Holy Cross they gave us a personality test.

There was a category on it about “fears and I must have checked every box because while the average man had 3.2 fears and the average woman 3.5, I had something like 30 or 31.

Over the years I grew to fear any sort of testing because as soon as the results were in, I had to go see some doctor type with several initials after his name.

I am afraid of everything.

There is even a word to describe me—panphobic!

I think I came into this scary world in fear and trembling.

I could have been the model for Edvard Munsch’s heralded painting The Scream.

If a coward suffers a thousand deaths, I must have shot close to 600 by now.

It was probably because my dad was a physician.

I could get all my diseases for free.

I spent many a furtive moment perusing his old medical books.

Gory pictures of skin diseases and physical deformities shocked me with morbid fascination.

Young male with razor bumps

I just knew I had this!

I nervously compared my body with these pictures to see if I had any of the illustrated diseases or conditions.

My dad also used to give me cold shots, four times a year.

He would get the vaccine, two days in advance, allowing me ample time to agonize over the syringe, glistening with menace in the refrigerator.

The torment of anticipation was worse than the actual injection.

Vietnam took a heavy toll on my psyche.

I didn’t trust the politics of the war, especially LBJ.

Essentially 58,000 Americans lives were sacrificed for…what…I still don’t quite get it.

Oh, I would have gone had my number ever been called.

But the Navy…not the Army and certainly not the Marine Corps.

And of course anything where I had to go up in a plane was definitely out.

There was an article in Esquire Magazine that listed 22 Ways to beat the draft.

I only remember two–eating a lot of salt before the physical.

My natural anxiety would probably have worked even then.

And wearing women’s lace panties to the physical

Today they would immediately make you an officer.

Velvet Flocked Satin and Lace Strapless Corset

Officer material?

As an adolescent, many things scared me besides needles and infectious diseases.

We had the bomb to worry about.

My school had periodic air raid drills.

I envisioned some Japanese fighter plane strafing me in the schoolyard.

I heard them coming!

How did I know the war had been over for seven years.

Heights have always been a problem.

Every time I go to a sporting event and I have to sit in the upper deck, my head starts spinning.

Unless someone is sitting directly in front of me, I feel I am going to fall over the edge.  I have been to the Seattle Space Needle.

I needed two stiff drinks just to stay up in their restaurant.

The Toronto CN Tower was even worse since it is a lot higher and the drinks much weaker.

My crazy nephew, David  was jumping up and down on the thin plastic partition that separated us from a 1200′ plunge.

That’s why I don’t like to fly.

It gets very high when you are suspended in the air in quiet desperation.  I was terrified of flying, long before the attacks on 9/11.

We cancelled a number of scheduled flights right after the attacks.

Take-offs are especially terrifying to me.

It is the inverted position, plus wind shears and maybe an errant missile or exploding shoes or underpants that give me fits of anxiety.

To me a plane is just a large coffin with food service.

Opps, that’s not true any more.

They have all eliminated the last meal.

No last meal

Now that Y2K is passed, I can start worrying about Y3K.

I have only had one major surgery and that was for a dislocated shoulder after a headfirst dive into second base.

I fretted so much over the operation that six months later I was diagnosed with high blood pressure.

I went to a shrink to determine the cause of my anxiety.

Just before he committed suicide,–he really did–no joke–I learned that the fear of death was the root cause of my anxiety.

I later read of a study that reported that the number one fear in America, was not death but public speaking.

Death was only third.

I wondered what was number two–the fear of dying while speaking in public?

Fear is ubiquitous.

It is no wonder I am afraid all the times.

I grew up in the era of the BOMB!

Nuclear holocaust was an ever-present reality.

It is no wonder that they called those days, the age of anxiety.

I don’t think i have ever gotten over it,.

Still think about it!

I have stopped reading the newspaper and watching television.

The news is just too scary.

People are dying all over the place.

Our water has arsenic in it.

I am afraid to open my mail.

Alar, whatever that is, infects our apples.

I just love apples.

Cell phones cause brain cancer.

Everyone on the highway is an escapee from a mental ward.

Or they are apparently texting their last will and testament.

I have heard of sexting.

Could this be texiciding?

Second hand smoke kills.

The rain forests are dying. Should I send flowers?

Global warming will burn us up.

The ice age is coming and we will have a nuclear winter in July.

Please somebody stop the world I need to get off.



  1. I believe most of the above is true? Is it?

    Comment by Mary B. Lachney — November 27, 2012 @ 7:24 pm

  2. Well written. Too well written, I need a drink!

    Comment by Jeff — November 28, 2012 @ 3:45 pm

  3. We sure do have a lot to worry about with BO being
    re-elected. CCI (Catholic Citizens of IL) recently re-
    ported that Obama lost in all the states that have
    voter ID and that in many counties there were more
    voters than those eligible to vote. Also said: In what
    election did anyone ever get 100 or 99 % of the vote
    as happened in 99 precincts of Ohio? and How can
    we explain the voting machines flipping a Romney
    vote to Obama?

    We need to worry not only about how BO is handling/mishandling domestic affairs but also his conduct regarding the Middle East, our borders, terrorism, etc.

    In addition what he may push through the Senate
    regarding radification of UN Treaties is alarming.
    We are at risk for loss of parental rights and gun
    control/confiscation. Take note of how this all
    happened when people elected Hitler. The children
    were taught not to listen to their parents – that they
    were old foggies and he duped them into turning in
    their guns. Let’s pray that the American people
    will never cave to such demands and that parents
    will make time to educate their children promptly.

    Many who have not been particularly worrisome are indeed worried for themselves, children, and grandchildren.

    It is easy to understand that your mother who had an only child who was a male worried about you being in harms way if sent to war. That’s the way God made women – it’s their nature to protect their children.

    I do wonder if your Catholic formal education isn’t somewhat responsible for your fear of death. People your/our age were taught that the path was long and narrow and we were given the impression that few made it into heaven. Church rules were equated with the basic ten. For instance if one ate meat on Friday and did not repent they would go to hell. Today it seems some churchmen consider it sinful not to welcome the stranger (illegals) and believe social justice to be the most important issue of our times as opposed to life issues. Some of us consider voting for pro-aborts a very serious transgression of the 5th commandment but the USCCB “Faithful Citizenship” allows for a subjective decision regarding life issues.

    I fear that our young people are confused by the
    mixed messages they receive in some Catholic
    Schools these days.

    God best knows the hearts of man and will judge them accordingly in light of their sincerity. Trust that Our Heavenly Father loves us even more than our earthly father and will welcome all who have done their best to do his will into His Kingdom.

    Last week-end we celebrated the feast of Christ
    the King. Let us remember that He is our King,
    that there IS a higher power than BO/government
    and trust in Christ as we enter advent to prepare
    for Christmas.


    Comment by MFritz — November 28, 2012 @ 4:26 pm

  4. Dear Mary:

    Thanks for your incisive and lengthy comment. All of what you say about BO is absolutely true. And I am not surprised because it is all been going according to the plan he learned at the foot or feet of his Marxists mentors. The reference to Nazi Germany is not over the top because the word Nazi is an acronym for the National Socialist Party, and were only marginally different. Unfortunately Bo is and has been all along the “president No one Really Knows.”

    As for my religion upbringing, our religion has everything to do FOD. That is not anything to do with victimhood, but the teaching of sin, death, judgment—a few of the last things, never really talked about forgiveness, mercy, and trust in God. Those are aspects that I am only now trying to learn and adopt.

    I seriously doubt today’s kids fear death at all. They have taken the extreme opposite sid eof when we were young Many don’t believe in individual or personal sin. Sins to day are collective, as you intimate above. And I doubt a whole group can go to hell collectively—silly notion is collective sin and guilt.

    Comment by bbprof — November 28, 2012 @ 8:52 pm

  5. Bill:

    Sounds like your religious education was more nega-
    tive than what we had in St. Louis. However, I do
    recall that when in grade school (probably in the
    primary grades) a nun told us that if we doubted any-
    thing she said that it was the devil tempting us and
    we should say a prayer to drive him away.

    I still remember the above which I guess proves it
    made an impression. I guess I believed her at the
    time but today sure would not be influenced by the
    liberal nuns. I would say when I was in college was
    when I first really began to view God in a more
    positive way – the God of love, mercy, and forgiveness.

    Was in college from 60 – 64. Must say the nuns who
    I was educated by then were far different than they
    are today. A few are still alive and from what I gather
    they and their order support the Dems. I do think
    they are well meaning in their desire to help the
    poor but feel they have been manipulated by the
    socialist. It is hard to believe that they and others do
    not seem to learn from history that socialism has never

    A friend in Indy complained to a priest years ago (30+)
    that the Vatican II documents were socialistic. He
    replied: “We call it Catholic Communism – it works for
    us, why not for you?” I have never read them but have
    been told that they are subject to interpretation so I
    have no opinion regarding them.

    We were taught to practice charity and compassion
    and of course stand up for justice but not the social
    justice of today. It seems this monster invaded our
    American Church sometime after Vatican II – maybe
    our US Bishops misused the documents. I can’t say
    but we do know that Dr. Bella Todd, after being
    converted by Fulton Sheen, spoke out telling that
    the Communist that she worked with infiltrated our
    Church with Communist men who became priest and
    that they were men who were not attracted to women.

    The above is all very sad – hope springs eternal for
    those who trust in the Lord.


    Comment by MFritz — November 28, 2012 @ 9:57 pm

  6. Let me first say what an honor, privilege and blessing it is to know you Bill. God put some extra good ingredients in the formula when he created you. You are a very good man. It saddens me to know that you have suffered from anxiety.

    I too was born Catholic and attended parochial school. But I was forced (by Dr’s advice) to leave St. Dominic High School ( in OFallon, MO.), because my family physician diagnosed me as being very near a nervous breakdown. It was after 9th grade in 1969. This was due to what I felt was an atmosphere of mental oppression. Always being watched and punished, often unjustly and often corporately for the misbehavior of one student in our class. Our 9th grade class (comprised of several area elementary Parish schools) was divided into groups according to the results of an aptitude test that we took in 8th grade. The groups were “A” group (called the “Brains”), B1 & B2 groups. There may have been a “C” group too? I do remember that either B2 students or C Group were referred to as “The [very demeaning name]s”. Those poor students in that group were dealt a very unfair educational and psychological disadvantage.

    Here is an example of how the atmosphere was so bad in general. Visualize the following: I was in “A” group. No one, including me, could understand how I achieved that rank. Anyway, The “A” group was given very preferential treatment by the nuns. Especially the girls of “A” group. Here is what occurred one day. I will never forget this incident as long as I live. One of our teachers, a nun, was reprimanding our class for something. I don’t remember what it was that had so displeased her. But I do know that our punishment was so unfair that just as she turned her back and stormed out of our classroom in total disgust with us, EVERY student INCLUDING the “highly revered Girls”, gave her the “middle finger”.

    So for me Catholic school was a tough beginning. But it did teach me discipline. And I definitely have some good memories of good friends and good and loving teachers. I give thanks to God for those blessings. And my experiences in public school from 10th to 12th grade at Fort Zumwalt High School were very positive to say the least. At the time I thought I had [figuratively] died and gone to Heaven. I am serious in saying that.

    Perhaps you were negatively influenced in some ways during your early education? I certainly hope not.

    I now claim Baptist as my religion. The Catholic Faith still holds a special place and I pray that young Catholics are being taught that Our Father God Loves us very much. So much, that He sent His Son Jesus to pay a price for our sins that we could have never paid. You see, God is all Holy. We are in sin which separates us from Him. Nothing we could ever do would be adequate to make us worthy to come before an All Holy God. The price that has to be paid for our sin is death. “For the wages of sin is death”. A price had to be paid for our sins. A price that would be impossible for us to pay. God so loved us that He sent His Son to pay the price. His own death as the ONLY payment or “Perfect” Sacrifice that would be worthy to God. All we need to do is accept God’s gift of Salvation by repenting, being truly sorry for our sins, turning away from sin and looking to Jesus as Our Savior and our Lord. We owe it all to Him. After we realize that Jesus is Our Savior, we gain a great appreciation for The Sacraments. We gain a personal relationship and a sharing experience with Jesus Our Lord every time we partake. The Sacraments are no longer something we “do”. They are something we “share” together with Our Savior! He is the Lover of our Souls!

    No longer do we have to worry about if we “did” enough good to “earn” Heaven. Jesus was the only one perfect and sinless that could earn Heaven. And He freely gives us the choice to choose Him. And spend eternity with Him at the throne of Almighty God, Creator and Loving Father.

    Well, I wish the nuns would have taught me that. Or I would have heard that message during mass. But Thank God I did hear it eventually through my wife and her faithfull parents. And now I can share it. That’s the best news that someone who suffers from anxiety could ever hear!

    One final note. If you want to know what is happening to our country and our society, I’ve got a few suggestions that will shed some light. First go to and watch; This documentary will show you how everything evil that is happening has all be planned. Not a nutty conspiracy theory. Rather a carefully planned agenda of those in the world who hate America. Very Evil plan!!!!

    “When a Nation Forgets God” by Dr Erwin Lutzer. Tells how the German people fell prey to economic desires and turned away from God in the process. Very Evil plan!!!!

    So we must seek God’s wisdom, protection, mercy and guidance every day.

    Love you Bill!! Keep and grow your Faith.

    Your friend in Christ,

    Mike Schneller

    Comment by Mike Schneller — December 9, 2012 @ 10:55 pm

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About author

After graduating from Holy Cross, Bill Borst earned an MA in Asian History from St. John's University and a Ph.D in American History from St. Louis University. (1972) A former New Yorker, he taught for many years in the St. Louis area, while also hosting a weekly radio show on WGNU from 1984-2006. He currently is a regular substitute for conservative Phyllis Schlafly on KSIV radio. (1320) He is the author of two books on social history, "Liberalism: Fatal Consequences," and "The Scorpion and the Frog: A Natural Conspiracy." He just retired as the Features editor of the Mindszenty Foundation Monthly Report. In his 11 years from 2003-2013 he wrote nearly 130 essays on Catholic culture and world affairs. Many in St. Louis also know him as the "Baseball Professor," because of a course that he offered at Maryville College from 1973-74. It was arguably the first fully-accredited baseball history course in the Midwest.The author of several short books on the old St. Louis Browns, he started the St. Louis Browns Historical Society in 1984. In 2009 his first two plays were produced on the local stage. "The Last Memory of an Ol' Brownie Fan," ran six performances at the Sound Stage in Crestwood and "A Perfect Choice" ran for two performances at the Rigali Center Theater in Shrewsberry. His third play, "A Moment of Grace," ran six performances at DeSmet High School in January of 2011with First Run Theater in January of 2011. He is currently working on a 4th play, "A Family Way," which is a comedy about a happy dysfunctional family. He can reached at







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