Friday, August 05, 2005

COM: Thinking

Thanks to a very good friend, who really might want some credit for this, but will forgive me for saying that everyone best remain anonymous in this venture . . .


It started out innocently enough. I began to think at parties now and
then -- to loosen up. Inevitably, though, one thought led to another,
and soon I was more than just a social thinker.

I began to think alone -- "to relax," I told myself -- but I knew it
wasn't true. Thinking became more and more important to me, and finally
I was thinking all the time. That was when things began to sour at
home.

One evening I had turned off the TV and asked my wife about the meaning
of life. She spent that night at her mother's.

I began to think on the job. I knew that thinking and employment don't
mix, but I couldn't stop myself. I began to avoid friends at lunchtime
so I could read Thoreau and Kafka. I would return to the office dizzied
and confused, asking, "What is it exactly we are doing here?"

One day the boss called me in. He said, "Listen, I like you, and it
hurts me to say this, but your thinking has become a real problem. If
you don't stop thinking on the job, you'll have to find another job."

This gave me a lot to think about. I came home early after my
conversation with the boss. "Honey," I confessed, "I've beenthinking..."

"I know you've been thinking," she said, "and I want a divorce!"

"But Honey, surely it's not that serious."

"It is serious," she said, lower lip aquiver. "You think as much as
college professors, and college professors don't make any money, so if
you keep on thinking, we won't have any money!"

"That's a faulty syllogism," I said impatiently.

She exploded in tears of rage and frustration, but I was in no mood to
deal with the emotional drama. "I'm going to the library," I snarled as
I stomped out the door. I headed for the library, in the mood for some
Nietzsche.

I roared into the parking lot with NPR on the radio and ran up to the
big glass doors... They didn't open. The library was closed!

To this day, I believe that a Higher Power was looking out for me that
night. Leaning on the unfeeling glass, whimpering for Zarathustra, a
poster caught my eye.

"Friend, is heavy thinking ruining your life?" it asked.

You probably recognize that line. It comes from the standard Thinker's
Anonymous poster. Which is why I am what I am today: a recovering
thinker. I never miss a TA meeting. At each meeting we watch a non-
educational video; last week it was "Porky's." Then we share
experiences about how we avoided thinking since the last meeting. I
still have my job, and things are a lot better at home. Life just
seemed...easier, somehow, as soon as I stopped thinking.


I think the road to recovery is nearly complete for me. Today, I registered
to vote as a Republican. . . .

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