Proud to Be a Democrat
A first grade teacher in the Midwest is explaining to her class that she is a Republican and how nice it is that a new Republican president has taken office. She asks her students to raise their hands if they, too, are Republicans and support George Bush. Everyone in class raises their hands except one little girl. "Mary," says the teacher with surprise, "why didn't you raise your hand?" Because I'm not a Republican," says Mary. "Well, what are you?" asks the teacher. "I'm a Democrat and proud of it," replies the little girl. The teacher cannot believe her ears. "My goodness, Mary, why are you a Democrat?" she asks. "Well, my momma and papa are Democrats, so I'm a Democrat, too." "Well," says the teacher in an annoyed tone, "that's no reason for you to be a Democrat. You don't always have to be like your parents. What if your momma was a criminal and your papa was a criminal, too, what would you be then?" Mary smiled. "Then we'd be Republicans."
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. That was when things began to sour at home. 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 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
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, 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 Nietzsche. 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.
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 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 registered to vote Republican.