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Thinkers Anonymous

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 eventually I was thinking all the time.

I began to think on the job. I knew that thinking and working don’t mix, but I just 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 do here?” I soon had a reputation as a heavy thinker. One day the boss called me in. He said, “Skippy, 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, we’ll have to find someone else.” This gave me a lot to think about.

And at home things weren’t going so great either. One evening I turned off the TV and asked my wife about the meaning of life. She spent the night at her mother’s. I came home early after my conversation with the boss. “Lamb chop,” I confessed, “I’ve been thinking...” “I know you’ve been thinking,” she said, “and I want a divorce.” “But Poopsie, surely it’s not that serious.” “It is serious,” she said, lower lip aquiver. “You think as much as a college professor, and everyone knows college professors don’t make any money, so if you keep up this thinking then we won’t have any money!” “That’s a faulty syllogism,” I said impatiently as she began to cry. I’d had enough. “I’m going to the library!” I snarled, as I stomped out the door.

I drove to the library, PBS blaring on the radio, in the mood for some Nietzsche. I roared into the parking lot and ran up to the big glass doors...and they didn’t open. The library closed?! To this day, I believe that a Higher Power was looking out for me that night. As I sank to the ground scrabbling at 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 from the standard Thinkers 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 III.” Then we share experiences about how we avoided thinking since the last meeting.

Now I have a job and things are a lot better at home.

Life was just...easier, somehow, once I stopped thinking.