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  • ssdependent ssdependent Jul 26, 2012 2:10 PM Flag

    The Thinker

    It started out innocently enough. I began to think at parties now and then - just to loosen up and be a part of the crowd.

    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.

    That was when things began to sour at home. 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 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 Thoreau, Muir, Confucius, Camus and Kafka. I would return to the office dizzied and confused, asking, "What is it exactly that we are doing here?"

    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. "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 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 fallacious syllogism," I said impatiently.

    She exploded in tears of rage and frustration, but I was in no mood to deal with the emotional drama.

    "I'm going to the library," I snarled as I stomped out the door.

    I headed for the library, in the mood for some John Locke. I roared into the parking lot with NPR on the radio 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 night.

    Leaning on the unfeeling glass and whimpering for Emerson, 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.

    This 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. I believe the road to recovery is nearly complete for me.

    Today I took the final step... I joined the Democratic Party.

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    • ...

      “This brilliant essay was first written by Angus Stocking, although given the extraordinary afterlife it subsequently found on the Internet, its true authorship has not always been obvious. As Stocking observes:

      I wrote [Confessions of a Heavy Thinker] in 1989, and it first appeared, under a pseudonym, in the June 1st New Times, an alternative paper (quite a good one) in San Luis Obispo County, California—in fact, it was my first publication of note. It appeared another three times in New Times—under my name, these times—because the owner/editor, Steve Moss, liked it and it was his paper, and it also appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, under my name. Somewhere along the way Confessions of a Heavy Thinker leapt to the internet, apparently shorn of any attribution to me… that or it was stolen. At any rate, it appears on several hundred sites, always without my name attached, and occasionally claimed as the fruit of another’s authorial loin’.”

      Interestingly, his ending doesn’t pick political sides. Do your own search, however, and you’ll see the ending on almost every version, winds up saying, “Today I took the final step. I joined the REPUBLICAN Party (not Democrat as on this poster’s version). published it that way, as did most of the others, all aimed at Republicans. One ending even said, “I put up my autographed poster of Ann Coulter.” I mean, come on now, which side discourages education, belittles college professors as the “elite” who don’t make enough money and mocks Thoreau,Camus and Kafka????? Check your tea leaves.

      Apparently this poster, who would appear to be another ‘rational selfishness” advocate, not only changed the ending, but tried to take credit for someone else’s work. That seems to be the current, acceptable modus operandi of those who, ironically, complain loudest about free-loaders ruining the system.

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