Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Think, Don't Think

"The wise ones fashioned speech with their thought, sifting it as grain is sifted through a sieve." Buddha

[Too much is happening. I need a break. This has been going around the email circuit.]

It started out innocently enough. I began to think at parties now and then, just 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. About the War in Iraq. Social Security. UN Ambassadors. Global Terrorism. The outrageous behavior of the Bush Administration. That was when things began to sour at home. One evening I turned off the evening news 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 the New York Times and the Washington Post. I would return to the office dizzied and confused, asking, "What is going on in the world?"

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 been thinking..."

"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 a quiver. "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 a Bush press conference. 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.

The road to recovery is nearly complete for me.

Today, I registered to vote as a Republican.



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