What, him worry?

Anxiety can paralyze Nate. Obsessive always, there are times when his fixations turn from random facts to real worry. Last night he was plagued by a deep-seated anxiety.

“My toilet needs caulking so it won’t move. I’ll act like a plumber” – Nate

“Don’t be a plumber, Nate. We’ll call someone” – Karen

“I try to fill my tub to one-quarter filled before I shower, but I can’t do it. My drain doesn’t work” – Nate

Karen got up to check his bathroom. His toilet looked fine.

“There’s mold on my ceiling and my toilet needs to be fixed. I hate Joey’s toilet. We should take my toilet and put it in Joey’s room, and I’ll get a new toilet” – Nate

Nate does not care for Joey’s bathroom. In his view, it needs total reconstruction. He’s even proposed tearing down the wall between his bathroom and Joey’s, to make one giant space, but Joey is not interested in sharing any accommodations with Nate. No way.

“There’s mold on my ceiling. It needs to be fixed.”

Now I got out of bed to look. There were a couple of easily wiped spots. No big deal. I gave Nate’s toilet a shake, but it didn’t seem to be loose. I tried the drain and, true enough, it wouldn’t hold water.

“My toilet needs caulking so it won’t move” – Nate.

All the while, as Nate voiced his nervousness over and over and over again, he didn’t miss a beat as he taped on top of his new, 4-foot tall document of Johnny Test episodes. Nate uses tape as a faux laminate. He hasn’t seemed to catch on that it offers little to no protection; so many of his papers have been damaged by water seeping through the sticky stuff. The strips he cut were so precise, machine like, that I looked on in amazement as he went about the process while simultaneously harping about his bathroom distress. The sound of Scotch tape – pulling, snapping, sticking – is part of the Nate soundtrack. 

Finally, he let it go of his worries for the evening and went to bed. This morning he woke up clammy and a bit sick. Karen pointed out that sometimes Nate has fever fears. That may have been it. He seems a bit more calm now, the biggest issue of the morning being Robbie’s eating of the crueller that Nate had picked for breakfast.



About Jeff Katz

Jeff Katz is the former Mayor of Cooperstown, the “Birthplace of Baseball” and home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. His latest book, Split Season:1981 - Fernandomania, the Bronx Zoo, and the Strike that Saved Baseball, (Thomas Dunne Books, 2015), received national attention, with coverage appearing in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Sporting News and NPR’s Only a Game, among others. Katz appeared on ESPN’s Olbermann and The Sporting Life with Jeremy Schaap and MLB Network’s MLB Now, with Brian Kenny. Split Season: 1981 was a finalist for the 2016 Casey Award for Best Baseball Book of the Year.
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