“Everything’s Gonna Be All Right.”

There was this woman in a motel who said I thought too much about everything. I don’t know how she could tell that just by looking at my face.

She said “Stop thinking. Everything’s gonna be all right.”

That kinda struck me, so from then on I carried that all the time and eagerly handed out the advice to everyone who seemed a bit too uptight.

I always said “Everything’s gonna be all right.”

Like this one time, over bottles of beer, another girl told me about the uncertainty of her future.

I told her, “Well, don’t worry. Everything’s gonna be all right.”

She said, “Except you don’t know that for sure.”

And I really didn’t know what to say to that.

She was kinda right.

But anyway, I moved on.

Every day I would wake up and start thinking about my credit card debt. And when I would think about my credit card debt, I would think about my job. And when I would ponder my job, I would ponder about aging. And when I wondered about aging, I’d wonder about dying. And when I would think about dying, I would think about the cost of dying. And when I’d consider money, I’d remember my credit card debt.

It’s fortunate that at some point my brain would stop itself and say,

“Forget it. Everything’s gonna be all right.”

It’s a motto I secretly repeat in my head whenever I encountered something dire.

“Everything’s gonna be all right.”

Like when this girl cruelly turned me down because I’m no George Clooney. She hasn’t had a boyfriend for so long, I truly believe she was waiting for George Clooney.

“F that,” I said. “Everything’s gonna be all right.”

Or when I almost ended up broke because I bought too much beer for people I didn’t know in a club. See, I was trying to impress them because they were white.

When I saw the ridiculous bill I just laughed and said, “Ha! Everything’s gonna be all right.”

Or when my bag got snatched by a man on a speeding motorcycle on my way to the office.

I shouted at the motherfucker and said, “Fuck you! Merry Christmas! Everything’s gonna be all right!”

Or that time our pit bull bit my leg and mauled my arm when I stepped on its tail as I stumbled drunk toward the door.

That one hurt like a bitch but I shrugged my shoulders and mumbled, “Everything’s gonna be all right.”

The morning after I found out my bed was soaked in blood from those wounds but I didn’t even notice I was leaking because I was too wasted.

My mother was shrieking in horror, so I calmed her down and whispered, “Hush, mother. Everything’s gonna be all right.”

Every single day I walked that compromised leg to and fro, worked that disfigured arm like it was nothing, wincing but smiling, cringing but enduring, stumbling but getting up.

People would look at me with quizzical expressions on their faces, I’d yell at them, “Bugger off! Everything’s gonna be all right!”

A week passed and the leg and the arm had grown the size of a tree trunk. Finally let my pride ease up a bit and took myself to the doctor. Doctor said infection’s seeped into the bone.

He said, “Sir, the infection’s seeped into the bone.”

I told that good doctor, “But doc, everything’s gonna be all right. Right?”

“Well, some things will be all right… but not everything.”

I was incredulous! I said, “But that can’t be right. Everything’s gonna be all right.”

He said, “Sir, there are maggots in your left humerus and tibia. I’ll have to saw them off.”

I said, “What?! You’re cutting off my arm and leg?”

He said, “Exactly, Sir. I’ll cut off the left if—you want everything to be all right.”

“But how can you be so calm telling me about hacking off my arm and leg? These are my goddamn arm and leg for Christ’s sake! They’ve been with me for 29 years!”

“It’s my job, Sir,” he told me. “I tell patients to calm down. And that everything’s gonna be all right.”

He was impossible! I told that good doctor, “Doc, what you intend to do is bad. Without my left arm and leg, not everything’s gonna be all right.”

He said with a smirk, “Actually, Sir, without your left arm and leg, all you’ll have are the ones on the right…

Then and only then will everything about you be all right.”