Sunday, June 18, 2006


LETTER FROM A FRIEND

I received this letter today from an old friend that had been through some hard times.

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 confess, "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
asked.

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.

Today I took the final step............ I joined the Democratic Party
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