It didn’t always used to be this way. I recall spending days on end, hiding under the bed, refusing to leave the house. I was so afraid that once I stepped out on the street, Christina Aguilera would come down on me like ugly on an ape. I was worried that she’d beat me, maybe tap-dance on my head, and take my Prozac money. But I don’t worry about that anymore.

I can even answer the phone now. I used to just let it ring, thinking that it was Curtis Salgado or Andrew Bird’s Bowl Of Fire calling. That they’d yell at me for missing their shows. Or maybe yell at me for going to their shows, but not clapping loud enough for an encore, or talking to much during the drum solo. You never know with musicians. But I don’t worry about that anymore.

And I don’t worry about the bands talking about me behind my back. It used to be, that whenever I read about Steve Riley & Mamou Playboys or Big Sandy & His Fly Rite Boys making tour plans, I figured there was someone in the band, probably the drummer, who would say, “Let’s not go to Fresno. That should tick him off.” But I don’t worry about that anymore.

Then there’s Ultimate Fakebook, and Calexico. They’ve all got new tour dates, and I’m sure they’ll have my face plastered all over the concert hall with a caption saying, “Watch out for this man!” You see, the bands don’t want me to have a good time. But I don’t worry about that anymore.

So I’m ready to go outside. I’ve got my paranoia under control, and I’m ready to face the world. There’s only one thing holding me back.

I have over 251,781 Metallica songs that I downloaded using Napster. And I know that Lars is out there. He’s waiting for me with those heavy metal drumsticks.

Maybe I should worry about that some more.