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Tim Pagel tim@voicesatwork.net


IT'S BEEN A tough struggle. 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 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. Finally I was thinking all the time. That was when things began to sour at home.

One evening I had turned off the TV and asked my wife about the state of our beloved Teamsters Union. She spent the night at her mother's. I began to think on the job. I knew thinking and employment don't mix, but I couldn't stop myself. I began to avoid friends at lunchtime so I could read about Harry Bridges and Cesar Chavez. I would return to work dizzied and confused, asking, "What exactly is it 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 some other work."

This gave me a lot to think about. I came home early after my conversation with the boss. "Honey, I confess, 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, 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 faulty 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 Mother Jones. 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, whimpering for an answer, 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 seemed... easier, somehow, as soon as I stopped thinking. I think the road to recovery is nearly complete for me. Today I made the final step, I decided to vote for Jim Hoffa Jr.

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