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Twelve Steps to Not Thinking

I was a lot like you: carefree, happy and blissful. This was before my life took a tragic turn, a turn which I sense you are on the verge of taking. There is no help for me, unfortunately, but perhaps my story will prevent you from falling into the abyss into which I have been thrown.

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, even though 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 Kafka and Thoreau. 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 "What is the meaning of life?". She spent the night at her mother's.

I soon had a reputation as a heavy thinker. One day, the boss called me in and said "Greg, 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, her 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 said impatiently, and she began to cry.

I'd had enough. "I'm going to the library", I snarled, and stomped out the door. I headed out to the library in the mood for some Nitzche and 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 a higher power was looking out for me that night. As I sank to the ground, clawing at the unfeeling glass, whimpering for Zarathrustra, 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 "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 seems...easier, somehow, as soon as I stop thinking.

Origin: unknown

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