Stinkin’ Thinkin’

My concern is not to make people read, but to make them think. ~~ Montesquieu

It started out innocently enough. I began to think at parties now and then just to loosen up.  Inevitably though, as often happens, one thought led to another, and before I realized it, 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 help myself. I began to avoid friends at lunchtime so I could read Tony Robbins and the various Life’s Little Instruction Books. I would return to work dizzy and confused, asking, “What is it exactly we are doing here?”

Things weren’t going so great at home either. One evening I suddenly turned off the T-V and asked my wife, “What’s the meaning of life?  Her only response was to roll her eyes. She spent the rest of the night in the basement playing Mario Brothers, while the kids were sent to their rooms. I soon had a reputation as a heavy thinker.

One day the boss called me in. He said, “Rick, I like you, and I hate to say this, but your thinking has become a problem.  You’re spending way too many hours here and if you don’t stop thinking on the job, you’ll have to find another.”

This gave me a lot to think about. I came home after my conversation with the boss. “Mildred,” I confessed, “I’ve been thinkin …” I know you’ve been thinking,” she said, “and I want a divorce!” “But honey, it can’t be that serious.” “It is serious,” she said, with her 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 crazy!” I said, and she began to stare.

Well, I’d had enough. “I’m going to the library,” I stuttered as I moved toward the door. I headed for the library, in the mood for some Leonardo…  Da Vinci that is.  So with an AM talk station on the radio I drove into the parking lot and ran up to the big glass doors but… 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 broken glass and whimpering for Stephen R. Covey, an amazing thing happned. A poster caught my eye.  Friend, is heavy thinking ruining your life? it asked.  You might recognize the 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 gathering we watch a non-educational video; last week it was “The Hangover.” Then we share experiences about how we avoided thinking since our last meeting.  Life just seemed easier… somehow, the wife was back to normal, the kids around more, less augumentative, everyone at peace… soon as I stopped thinking.

Note:  This was adapted from an original story whose author is unknown. There is a lot of self-truth in it.

4 thoughts on “Stinkin’ Thinkin’

  1. Hi Rick,

    I came to the same conclusion myself years ago. If I didn’t think on things so seriously, perhaps life would be better. After all, look at the masses…sometimes they seem downright blissful. But as a leopard can’t change it’s spots, I find myself dwelling on different topics and drawing conclusions about life. It only takes 61 years….and counting.

    Your blog made me think of what I told my Son, Stuart, as he grew up:

    “You better use your mind because if you don’t, somebody will be happy to use it for you”!


  2. One of the lines my son heard frequently from me was “Do you ever stop and think?” Then, a while back I got to thinking about that particular line and where had I learned it. It was then I realized that my Mom had said that -repeatedly -to me too!

    Must be something wrong with this thinking process I decided so I tried then to stop doing that -thinking! But the only time I thought I wasn’t thinking was when I was asleep. But then, I started having dreams -usually nightmares they were though, all of ’em about my being back at the truckstop working as a waitress -me, who can barely walk some days and that’s when I thought “What the hell were you thinking?”

  3. The problem is most people don’t think enough. If they did we would not get saddled with some of the political leaders that we do. If people thought more they might know what the U.S. Constitution actually says. If they thought and studied a little more we might not hear people who aspire to the highest office in our land make the horrible blunders they do about our nation’s history, how we got into this current financial mess, or any number of the fool things they say.

    I don’t mean we should let idle thoughts distract us from such things as driving a car. That kind of thing gets people killed. But if the same people thought more about the actions of driving a car safely, while they are driving, in other words using their brains to pay attention to what they are doing, we might have fewer collisions.

    I see far too many people going through life on auto pilot. But I do agree that the type of thinking spoken of in the blog needs to be done in idle moments. But we ought to take those idle moments and do some serious thinking now and then. Who knows what gems we may come up with.

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