The Heavy Thinker - A Cautionary Tale
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Fri, 10 May 96 02:08:56 -0700
Subject: The Heavy Thinker - A Cautionary Tale
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The Heavy 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 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, and she began to cry. I'd
had enough. "I'm going to the library," I snarled as I stomped out the
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...they didn't open. The library was closed.
To this day, I believe that a Higher Power was looking out for me that
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 thinking.
© 1996 Peter Langston