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    Giving weight to worrisome reports

    Or quit worrying and make me another margarita

    Take-home message: People—like my neighbor and I—for centuries, have tended to give too much weight to negative news stories and gloomy predictions. Hence my resolution for 2016 to pay less attention to the doomsayers and pour more drinks for my friends.

    The weekend had arrived. After a busy week, it was cocktail hour on Friday and my neighbor and I—fortified with some refreshing beverages—began to weigh in on current events.

    “This country is going to hell in a basket,” said my friend, who is a U.S. immigrant and not a native English speaker.

    "You mean a hand basket," I replied.

    “What about a hand basket?” he asked.

    “You mean to say ‘this country is going to hell in a hand basket,’ ” I said.

    "What is a hand basket?" he asked.

    "I don't know what a hand basket is," was my response.

    "Why would the country go in a hand basket?" he asked.

    "I don't know! All I know is that the correct phrase is 'this country is going to hell in a hand basket!'"

    My friend paused to reflect on this insight before responding: “Give me another drink.”

    Zika, civil war, Ebola: Talk about depressing

    Peter J. McDonnell, MD
    He is director of The Wilmer Eye Institute, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, and chief medical editor of ...

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