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. 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 dizzied and confused, asking, "What is it exactly we are doing here?"

Things weren’t going so great at home, either. 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 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, 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 a college professor, 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, and she began to cry. 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 Nietzsche, with a PBS station on the radio. I roared into the parking lot and ran up to the big glass doors….but 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, simpering 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 Thinkers Anonymous poster. It is responsible for 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.