Curtis Dahlgren
July 28, 2006
Confessions of a recovering 'heavy thinker'
[just in, over the transom]
By Curtis Dahlgren

"The Lord shall laugh, for He shall see that His DAY is coming." Psalms 37:13

IT STARTED OUT INNOCENTLY ENOUGH. I began to 'think' at cocktail 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 I couldn't get enough of the stuff. I was thinking all the time, and it began to affect my family life. 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 began to think on the job. I knew we weren't paid to think, but I couldn't stop myself. I began to avoid friends at lunchtime so I could read Kafka and Orwell. I would return to the office dizzied and confused, asking, "What is WRONG with people?"

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, and said to my wife, "Honey, 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's more serious than you even imagine," she said, lower lip aquiver. "Your boss called and says you could lose your job. And your minister says if you don't stop your thinking, you could lose your mind!"

"That's a faulty syllogism," I said impatiently. "And surely you didn't tell the minister about my thinking!"

She exploded in tears of rage and frustration, and said, "We have to talk."

"But then wouldn't we both have to think?" I said, ducking to avoid my favorite thinking mug, as it crashed against the wall. "I'm going to the library," I said, after the door had safely slammed behind me.

I headed for the library, in the mood for some de Tocqueville or Gibbon. I roared into the parking lot with Rush on the radio and ran up to the big glass doors.

They didn't open. It was Martin Luther King Day, so the library was closed. I believe that a Higher Power was looking out for me that night. Leaning on the unfeeling glass, thirsty for some early American history, 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 or a popular TV show; last week it was "Porky's" and tonight it's going to be 60 Minutes or "30 Days."

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 (one day at a time).

We have guest lecturers at T&A who tell us the two tell-tale signs of a "problem thinker": if you think ALONE, or you think WITH people. To think I even used to think at baseball games! For shame! But I "think" I'm on the road to recovery.

Today I made one of the final steps. I made a contribution to Howard Dean and the Democratic National Committee.

The final ("12th") step is attending a joint lecture by Ward Churchill and Kevin Barrett (Islamic studies lecturer at the University of Wisconsin), and reading some New York Times editorials without throwing up. You can see why this is a life-long battle. Once a thinkaholic, always a thinkaholic. One is never 100 percent "recovered."

[Disclaimer: The real author of this piece is unknown and, therefore is "anonymous." This isn't "plagiarism"; it's a clear case of copy-and-paste (with a few names changed to protect the innocent). And if the real author of this piece wishes to complain, I will gladly forfeit the money I was paid for this column.]

P.S. Please remember: 2 + 2 equals 5!

© Curtis Dahlgren


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Curtis Dahlgren

Curtis Dahlgren is semi-retired in southern Wisconsin, and is the author of "Massey-Harris 101." His career has had some rough similarities to one of his favorite writers, Ferrar Fenton... (more)


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