Are YOU A Problem Thinker?


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 finally 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



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



"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, 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 NPR on the radio. I roared into the parking lot 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.


As I sank to the ground clawing 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. 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 "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





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