Thinkers Anonymous...

I was conversing with a loved one this past week and babbling on about a relatively minor issue related to child-rearing. We both listened to my prattle for several minutes. At one point there was a lengthy pause after which she said with a giggle, "You think too much!"

She's right. I lose lots of sleep thinking of things like birthday cake designs, car commercials, and whether my lack of sleep will affect my ability to think clearly the following night. Ultimately though, I am grateful for that particular aspect of who I am. It is a joy to think and feel deeply...About everything!

That conversation made me laugh at myself a bit and also reminded me of a delightful passage my husband found on the internet long ago. To the best of my knowledge, it was written anonymously. Enjoy!

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 finally I was thinking all the time. I began to think on the job. I knew that thinking and work don’t mix, but I couldn’t stop myself. I began to avoid friends at lunchtime so I could read Aristotle and Aquinas. I would return to work dizzied and distracted, asking, “Just what exactly are we are doing here?”

Things weren’t going so well at home, either. 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 soon had a reputation as a heavy thinker. One day the boss called me in. He said, “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 other work.”

This gave me a lot to think about.

I came home early after my conversation with the boss. “Darling,” I confessed, “I’ve been thinking…”
“I know you’ve been thinking,” she said, “and I want a divorce!”
“But honey, surely it isn’t that serious.”
“It is serious,” she said,” lower lip quivering. “You think as much as college professors, and college professors don’t make any money, so if you keep thinking, we won’t have any money!”
“That’s a faulty syllogism,” I replied impatiently, and she started to cry. I’d had enough. “I’m going to the library,” I grumbled as I charged recklessly out the door.

I headed for the library, in the mood for some Dante. I roared into the parking lot and practically sprinted to the big glass doors…they didn’t open. The library was closed. As I sank to the ground clawing at the unfeeling glass, whimpering for Boethius, 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.

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 Dude, Where’s My Car? 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.
Posted on August 21, 2008 and filed under "thinkers anonymous".