Apr 02

Worry Doll at Work

As part of a wedding gift for a young tech friend of mine (getting married in LA shortly), we are giving him and his fiance two worry dolls, so that their marriage may be blessed and worry-free. You can see my worry doll (her name is Miss Buril) at work on my pillow above.

These tiny creatures, originally from Guatemala, live with you. Each night, you tell her your worries and, by morning, presto, she’s stolen them away.

Now you need to know that you don’t pick out your doll; she picks you out. Next, you need to name her but, like ships, you have to be careful about this because, once you have named her, you can’t change it because then it’s bad luck.

Don’t think they work? Well, here’s what friends of mine had to say–

“My husband Steve and I got our Worry People at a Christmas party hosted by Bruce and Dawn. We named them ‘Molly’ and ‘Miranda’. Molly is Steve’s, Miranda is mine. We don’t know anyone who has those names but for whatever reason, that is who they are. I recall that with our dolls, you aren’t supposed to change the names once you choose them… so they’re Molly and Miranda forever. The dolls really do work—I can’t believe it. Now some friends of ours are going through tough times and we need to get them Worry Dolls too,” Judy Murray, Ottawa, Canada.

You can purchase your very own Worry Doll from the Hunger Site by visiting, https://thehungersite.greatergood.com/store/ths/item/33968/guatemalan-worry-no-more-doll?source=10–1475810807-5. Each item you purchase funds at least 25 cups of food.

@ profbruce

ps here’s an excerpt from one of my books dealing with worry dolls–

Excerpt from Quantum Entity: We Are All ONE: ‘Worry Dolls’

(Performance artist Nell takes physicist Damien Bell and friends to her second home on Ambergris Caye to celebrate Damien’s 23rd birthday. On Day 2, they find themselves at Marco Gonzalez, the site of Mayan ruins on the south end of the island. Quantum Entity trilogy, https://www.brucemfirestone.com/quantum-entity/)

From Chapter 7 San Pedro Town

Towards the end of the afternoon, they’re all gathered about the craft hut for an announcement. The girls have covered up (they all went topless except for Dakota and her friends) for the second time today—they didn’t play Ultimate semi-nude and won’t be doing some type of craft that way either.

Gillian says: “We wanted everyone to take something away from today that will help you remember this day, this beautiful nation and these wonderful people for a long time to come. So Miss Nell and our team have brought baskets of Worry Dolls, enough for everyone to create one or two of their own.

“Anyone know what a worry doll is?”

No one did or at least no one wanted to put her or his knowledge of the subject up against a local like Gillian Boys.

“Worry People are tiny folk art dolls mostly found in Guatemala Highland Maya culture. If you confess your troubles to your Worry Doll before you go to sleep each night, they’ll steal them away and you’ll sleep peacefully and completely.

“Our dolls come from San Juan del Obispo. They’re hand-made using all natural cotton fibres and textiles made in Guatemala. Your job is to find a coupla dolls that speak to you and to draw a face on each of them and give them a name. But once you have given them a name, it’s like ships, it’s bad luck to change them so be careful.

“We have three types of dyes for you to work with: tanine, vat dyes and dyes with mordent. We also have lots of non-run, non-NSM inks and different colored threads of various diameters to choose from so there you go…

“Any questions?”

“I have one,” says a pensive Nell. “Where do Worry Dolls take our fears after we tell them what’s going on?”

Gillian, normally so totally confident about pretty much everything, looks stumped for once. “Dunno, Nell. No one has ever asked that question before as far as I know. I’m not sure who we could ask.”

There is a bunch of milling around as Maya Worry Dolls begin picking out their people but eventually everyone settles down with one or two dolls to personalize and decorate.

Dakota and Traian are sitting side by side handicrafting their dolls together; Dakota is laughing at how bad an artist Traian is. His lame attempt at decoration leads to a lopsided male worry doll that appears to be sardonically observing his human familiar. He tells her his doll’s name is: “Freddie”.

“What kind of name is ‘Freddy’?” she asks.

“It’s F-R-E-D-D-I-E. I named him after Freddy Krueger but changed the spelling of his name cuz he is Freddy Light.”

The cultural reference is completely lost on Dakota who just says: “Huh?”

“Freddy Krueger went around killing teenagers in their dreams using razors where his fingers shoulda been. He scared them to death or cut them up, I’m not sure which.”

“And you want your doll to be called Freddie because…?” Dakota is frowning now thinking that maybe Traian is some kind of mutant.

Traian just laughs: “My guy is an anti-Krueger like matter and anti-matter? You know, when you mix particles and anti-particles together they annihilate each other releasing huge amounts of energy, typically gamma rays that are extremely powerful and deadly to living tissue.”

Dakota is now smiling back at Traian but not looking him in the eye. Actually they have a hard time looking each other in the eye because when they do, the needle moves to red for both of them. It’s a bit overwhelming really.

Instead, she changes the subject: “So tell me more about what you do.” Traian is happy to oblige.

Earlier as they approached the group on the beach, Dakota spoke with her best friend Deidre about Traian saying: “Eso le. El Euro americano” while she pointed with her head at the Euro American.

“Él es muy buen aspecto,” Deidre commented.

“Se le ve como un poco de un diablo”, replied Dakota. She can see what a devil he is but can’t seem to help herself, she’s powerfully attracted to him.

Her parents know she’s here with Deidre and her other girlfriends. Her mother has already spoken with Gillian making her responsible for this group of highschoolers. Gillian does not have to be told to look out for these teenagers—she understands the consequences in a place like Belize if you cross a powerful local family. It makes her nervous but Nell invites them so they’re here.

Damien has made himself a worry doll—without perhaps realizing it, his worry doll, who he calls ‘Dooby’, has the same loopy grin on his face that Damien gets occasionally when the world surprises him on the upside. But it’s Nell’s doll that freaks him out. She’s also got a male worry doll but his face is just two tiny black eyes and a large black circle for a mouth and no other features.

“What name did you give your doll, Nell?”

There’s silence for a minute or so.

“You gonna tell me?”



“It’s Navajo. It means War.”

“Why ‘War’, Nell?”


Nell seems a bit downcast and Dezba, who is a dour looking creature named after one of the longtime enemies of the Hopi people, certainly appears to reflect some kind of inner turmoil in her. She wants to mention something to Damien but can’t ever seem to find the right time or place to say it to him. Certainly not here, not now with more than 40 people milling about at Marco Gonzalez. Maybe she can get some private time with D after they explore the nearby ruins tonight.


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About the Author

Bruce is an entrepreneur/real estate broker/developer/coach/urban guru/keynote speaker/Sens founder/novelist/columnist/peerless husband/dad.