Do You Have A Thinking Problem?
It started out innocently enough. I began to think at parties now and then to loosen up and be more sociable. 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. 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 dazed and confused, asking, “What is it exactly we are doing here?” I soon had a reputation as a heavy thinker. One day the boss called me in. He said, “Son, 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 other employment.”
This gave me a lot to think about. I came home early after my conversation with the boss.
“Sweetheart,” I confessed, “I’ve been thinking…”
“I know you have,” she said, starting to cry, “and if you don’t stop, I’m getting a divorce!”
“But, dear, surely it’s not that serious.”
“It is serious,” she said, her face streaked with tears. “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 false syllogism,” I said impatiently, and she began to cry again.
I’d had enough. “I’m going to the library,” I snarled as I stomped out the door. I headed for the library, in the mood for some Noam Chomsky, with NPR on the radio. I roared into the parking lot 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. As I sank to the ground clawing at the unfeeling glass, whimpering for a little Manufacturing Consent, 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, and suddenly everything I’d been doing wrong became clear to me.
Which is why I am what I am today: a recovering thinker. I never miss a TA meeting, and have my own TA sponsor, Bill, an ex-rocket scientist, to call if I feel a lapse coming on. (Just last week I accidentally put on a Jeopardy marathon while surfing through the cable TV channels – it took Bill 20 minutes to talk me out of answering the questions.) The meetings are great, by the way: we watch a non-educational video — last time it was Porky’s Revenge — then we share our experiences about how we avoided thinking since the last meeting. I still have my job, and things are a lot better at home.
Recently, I started just leaving the TV tuned to Fox News, unless an action flick with Chuck Norris is on, or a comedy with Victoria Jackson, or a gladiator movie. And, in the car, I’m all about Limbaugh, Beck and Savage.
Life just seems… easier somehow, now that I’ve stopped thinking.
Soon, I will be able to vote Republican with a clear conscience.