Thinkers Anonymous


“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.

That was when things began to sour at home. One evening I 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 help myself.

I began to avoid friends at lunchtime so I could read Thoreau, Muir,
Confucius 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 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 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

You probably recognize that line. It comes from the standard Thinkers
Anonymous poster.

This 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.”

Author, unknown.

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