'Did I lock the door?' and five other things to be paranoid about all day

LIFE is a never-ending trauma of worry and paranoia. Here are some things that will eat away at you all day long. Enjoy thinking about them.

Your friend’s kid’s name

A chance meeting with a friend on the street should be a happy occasion. If only you were certain you’d called their little girl the right name. But all your friends started families at the same time. Was it Milly, Molly or Maisie? Wait – no, wrong friend. That was definitely Ella, Ava, Ada, Ida, Eve or Neve.

Did I lock the front door?

This fear normally strikes when you’re not yet at your destination but too far from home to go back and check. In reality you’ve definitely locked it. And you don’t have anything worth stealing anyway.

Did I pick my nose during the Zoom meeting?

With 18 months of Zooming under our belts, you’d be forgiven for getting a bit relaxed. You’re pretty sure you absent-mindedly picked your nose then ate it. In front of a dozen colleagues. Did that actually happen? Karen from HR looked disgusted, but then she always looks like that.

Last night’s work drinks

The morning after work drinks can be a psychological rollercoaster. Especially if you got a tiny little bit absolutely hammered. There are vague memories of someone getting the MD in a headlock and saying he was ‘Alright for a boring, bald bastard’. Is your P45 on its way?

Have I left the oven on?

This one always strikes at the worst possible time. Like, during your outbound flight for a two-week holiday in Florida. You didn’t leave the hob on, of course. It’s just your brain’s way of trying to ruin your fun by making you ride Space Mountain while thinking incessantly about the charred, smoking remains of your home.

Does my breath smell?

Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t. Even if you were gobbling Greek salad, garlic prawns and stilton last night. Just buy some chewing gum and stop being a paranoid bastard.

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Five things today's kids would be horrified about from the 1980s

THE past is a different country, especially the 1980s. Here are some of the horrors of the decade today’s youngsters have mercifully avoided. 

A constant fear of being murdered by the Russians

No 1980s childhood was complete without a slight fear of nuclear war. How likely this was is unclear, but with a diet of When the Wind Blows, Threads and ‘99 Red Balloons’, it’s amazing that any child was able to go to sleep at night until Perestroika.

Cars were crap

If your mewling spawn complain about long car journeys, explain that they’re at least not stuck on the sticky vinyl seat of a Mini with a car radio that keeps detuning from Dave Lee Travis into static as their only entertainment. Better still, give them a clip round the lughole in proper 80s fashion. 

Non-stop bigotry

Where d’you start, really? Skinheads abounded, and not the nice ones who were into ska. National Front graffiti was pretty popular, along with bullying Asian kids. For a bit of light relief all male children called each other ‘benders’ all the time. Not the most enlightened time. 

Go and do whatever the f**k you like, kids

Today’s parents like to know where their kids are or be sure they can call on their mobile, and rightly so. Back in the 80s you just tended to wander off and do strange things: fancy exploring a rubbish dump full of broken glass? Why not? Want to see I Spit on Your Grave on VHS at Pete’s house while his parents are out? That won’t do you lasting psychological harm.

Rock-hard PE teachers

Mr Griffiths was a boxing champion in the army, and thus did not care if you were about to pass out from dehydration on a cross-country run or had just smashed your face open on a goalpost. His idea of motivating children was to angrily call them ‘poofs’ or ‘nancy boys’.