Over the years several readers have sent me facsimiles of a certificate from an inyanga stating that his patient needed two weeks off from work because of headaches. The cause: “He has been thinking too much.”
(I suspect he meant that his patient was clinically stressed.)
Readers found it amusing, but that’s because they fail to appreciate that many people do indeed have a real thinking problem.
They get one little thought, and then another – next thing they have this thinking problem. Some become what is commonly called “blind thunk” – hence the headaches next day.
Thinking and driving can be just as much a problem as drinking and driving.
Some years ago I mentioned that if I try to think and drive while on the motorway my foot tends to involuntarily slide off the accelerator, my car then judders to a halt and my head flops on to my chest. Understandably, this irritates drivers in peak-hour traffic.
A reader suggested that I need professional help and drew my attention to something he found on the internet.
It told of a fellow who had a similar thinking problem.
It had begun innocently enough. The man began to think “just now and then”.
Inevitably one thought led to another and soon he was more than just a casual thinker.
“I began to think when alone – ‘to relax’. That’s what I told myself – but I knew it wasn’t true.”
Finally he was addicted and even began to think on the job. He found that thinking and work didn’t mix.
Yet he couldn’t stop.
“I began to avoid friends at lunchtime so I could read Thoreau and Kafka. I would return to the office dizzied and confused, asking: ‘What exactly do we do around here?’ Of course nobody could tell me.
“One evening I turned off the TV and asked my wife about the meaning of life. She spent that night at her mother’s.
“One day the boss called me in and said if I didn’t stop thinking on the job, I’d have to go.”
The habitual thinker went home early that day and said to his wife: “I’ve been thinking…”
“I can tell you’ve been thinking,” she said, “and I want a divorce!”
“But, honey, it’s not that serious?”
“It IS! You think as much as a university professor, and they don’t make any money. If you keep on thinking we’ll soon be broke!”
He stormed out of the house and got roaring thunk. He headed for the library. “I was in the mood to read Nietzsche – with Classic FM on the radio.”
At the library he ran up to the big glass doors… they didn’t open. The library was closed.
To this day he believes a Higher Power was looking out for him that night.
He sank to the ground clawing at the glass, whimpering for Zarathustra. A poster caught his eye: “Friend! Is heavy thinking ruining your life?” it asked.
“You might recognise that line from the standard Thinker’s Anonymous poster. It is why I am what I am today.
“I am a non-thinker and happier in my job. I never miss TV wildlife documentaries and watch endless videos about Australians catching crocodiles, playing with snakes, people painting the walls of their houses and Fashion TV. Things are a lot better at home, too. Life is so much easier since I stopped thinking.”
ALL THAT IS NEEDED
So many gods, so many creeds, so many paths that wind and wind. While just the art of being kind is all the sad world needs. – Ella Wheeler Wilcox, poet |(1850-1919)