Friday, November 30, 2018

Michael Benton: Thinking

Thinking by Michael Benton

It started out innocently enough. I began to think before social gatherings, 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 became concerned about America's global wars and the broad ranging effects of inequality on our democracy. I would ask others about these problems, but no one wanted to talk about it. This caused me to think about it more...

Soon, I began to think alone, "just to relax" I told myself this, 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, insisting that we turn off the finals of American Idol, I asked my partner about the meaning of life. My partner looked up from the I-phone while typing a message on a social media profile and yelled at me for being confrontational. My partner spent that night at a friend's house.

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 Karl Marx and Adam Smith in order to understand the origins of our capitalist system. I would return to the office dizzied and confused, asking, "What is it exactly we are doing here and how do we contribute to our community?" 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," my partner said, "and I want a divorce!"

"But Honey, surely it's not that serious."

"It is serious," my partner said, lower lip quivering. "You think as much as college professors, and college professors don't make serious money, so if you keep on thinking, we won't have any money!"

"That's a faulty syllogism," I said impatiently.

My partner 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 Nietzsche.

I roared into the parking lot with Democracy Now playing 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, whimpering for Zarathustra, a poster caught my eye. "Friend, is heavy thinking ruining your life?" it asked. You probably recognize that 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. We start off by telling each other everything is just fine and there is no need to question how our world is organized and run. Then we share experiences about how we avoided thinking since the last meeting. Luckily, my boss approved of my attempt at recovery, so 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 think the road to recovery is nearly complete for me.

My partner is ecstatic about my recovery.

Tonight I'm going to a Trump rally, he says we are doing "really, really great" and that makes me happy. I'm glad we have decisive leaders like him that encourage the people to avoid the dangers of thinking too much!

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