Arrived in the mail the other day from a group...


March 16, 1994

A FLYER arrived in the mail the other day from a group called the National Hysterical Society, based in Oceanside, Calif. We're always looking for a chuckle, so we opened it.

The enclosed press release described the group as an "elite social society" whose members are committed to the notion that "the problems we are faced with as Americans living in the '90s create stress and stress-related illnesses."

It goes on to describe how society members "use humor, fellowship and resources to help our members get through the issue of the moment or the crises of the day."

The group is currently looking for members -- "anyone who has experienced or understands hysterical behavior of any kind and wants to share in our common goal of acknowledging this human condition."

The society also sends honorary memberships to those in public life who are already too stressed out to join themselves. Among this year's recipients were "President William Clinton (Can't believe he took the job); Rush Limbaugh (On loan from God?); Michael Jackson (We feel he should face the music); and Mary Jo Buttafuoco (For standing by her man)."

Not all is fun and games with the Hysterical Society, however. Its newsletter, the Hysterical Informer, offers advice on avoiding stress-related illnesses, including clinical depression and heart disease.

Our favorite feature was the Informer's recent report on worry: "A recent survey on 'Things People Worry About' discovered the following statistics on what worries us," the newsletter noted:

Things that never happen: 40 percent

Things we can't change: 30 percent

Needless health worries: 12 percent

Petty worry: 10 percent

Real problems: 8 percent

There. Don't you feel better already?

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