The New York Times Magazine
From: The New York Times Magazine
Questions for Cameron Tuttle, the author of The Paranoid's Pocket Guide
You recommend "niche worrying." What is it?
A: Niche worrying is a means of conveniently organizing one's paranoia. It's concentrating at an appropriate time, like focussing on getting Legionnaires' disease from inhaling steam containing Legionella pneumophila bacteria while taking a shower at the gym.
Q: What are your sources?
A: Television, newspaper and the Centers for Disease Control. And ads like those for the Club, possibly the world's most paranoid product. Advertising, after all, preys off our collective paranoia to sell "cures" and "protection."
Q: Is paranoia healthy?
A: I believe so. Think about what adds up to paranoia: information plus imagination. In my book, I include a factoid on insurance policies offering coverage for destruction by satellite. Only an active and alert mind will draw the conclusion that their property is in actual danger. Paranoia is proof that one is aware.
By Jack Harris
A gimmick book, "to help you worry more efficiently." If you have a propensity to worry a lot, this collection of factoids might lend some credence to your condition. It is arranged in short paragraphs and lists with comments in the margins. "The IRS has more employees than the FBI or any other law enforcement agency" then "What are they really doing?" as an aside. A good question, one that has occurred to most of us without the benefit of this guide.
Along the bottom of each page is a sort of first person worry-wart stream of consciousness rant running a spectrum of concerns from the mundane (did I leave the iron on?) to the exotic (there's a tapeworm inside of me) the truly paranoid (angry adolescent spitting in my fast-food) to the self-fulfilling prophesy (I'll be left at the altar). With this attitude, you will lose sleep (the paranoids are out to get me).
Some of the blurbs are eye-opening. "According to the Federal Aviation Administration, 13% of the commercial airline pilots tested positive for alcohol or drugs while on duty," Others are obvious, "Thirty-four percent of hunting deaths and injuries are self-inflicted." Nowhere in this book are the sources documented or footnoted which is what dooms it to the novelty category.
It might go well if the person could flip through a few pages for a baffled grin. One with slower bowels could conceivably push through the whole book in a sitting, with the caution: "One in 6,500 Americans will be injured by a toilet seat during their lifetime. Most will be men."
Paranoia is proof that one is aware. New York Times Magazine