The Thinking Letter
From: "Gregory Paul Engel"
Subject: Warning, Caution, Alert, etc.
I've listened to your show for a while now. I must say, I was a lot like you guys. Carefree. Blabbed a lot. This was before my life took a tragic turn. A turn which, I sense, both of you are on the verge of taking. There is no help for me, unfortunately. But perhaps my story will help prevent you from falling into the abyss that I have been thrown.
It started out innocently enough. I began to think at parties now and then 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 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 stop myself.
I began to avoid friends at lunch time so I could read Thoreau and Kafka. I would return to the office dizzied and confused, asking, "What is it exactly we are doing here?"
Things weren't going so great at home either. 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 soon had a reputation as a heavy thinker. One day the boss called me in. He said, "Greg, 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, 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, and she began to cry. I'd had enough. "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, with NPR on the radio. I roared into the parking lot 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.
As I sank to the ground clawing at 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. At each meeting we watch a noneducational 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.
An integral part of my recovery has been your show. I regret, however, that you show has occasionally caused me to have a thought. Sometimes even two. I have found myself wanting to ask my car mechanic...to ask him..............questions! Yes, questions. A sure sign to the presence of a deep process of thinking. I have work to do. I regret that unless you turn from your direction toward answering callers questions in meaningful ways, I will be forced to discontinue my participation in your, until recently, completely mediocre show.
I hope I have helped. Good luck,