It has now been three months since I left for college. I have been remiss in writing and I am very sorry for the thoughtlessness in not having written before. I will bring you up-to-date now, but before you read on, please sit down. You are not going to read any further unless you are sitting down. Okay? Well, then, I am getting along pretty well now. The skull fracture and the concussion I got when I jumped out of the window of my dormitory when it caught fire, shortly after my arrival, are pretty well healed now. I only spent two weeks in the hospital, and now I can see almost normally and only get those sick headaches once a day. Fortunately, the fire in the dormitory, and my jump, were witnessed by an attendant at the gas station near the dorm, and he was the one who called the Fire Department and the ambulance. He also visited me in the hospital and since I had nowhere to live (because of the burnt-out dormitory), he was kind enough to invite me to share his apartment with him. Its really a basement room, but its kind of cute. He is a very fine boy and we have fallen deeply in love and are planning to get married. We haven't set the exact date yet, but it will be before my pregnancy begins to show. Yes, Mom and Dad, I am pregnant. I know how much you are looking forward to being grandparents and I know you will welcome the baby and give it the same love, devotion, and tender care you gave to me when I was a child. The reason for the delay in our marriage is that my boyfriend has some minor infection which prevents us from passing the pre-marital blood test and I carelessly caught it from him. This will clear up with the penicillin injections I am now taking daily. I know you will welcome him into the family with open arms. He is kind and, though not well educated, he is ambitious. Although he is of a different race and religion than ours, I know your oft-expressed tolerance will not permit you to be bothered by the fact that his skin color is somewhat different than ours. I am sure that you will love him as I do. His family background is good, too. I was told that his father is an important engineer for the sanitation department he works for... although they say he runs his office from his truck.
Now that I have brought you up-to-date, folks, I want to tell you that there was no dormitory fire, I did not have a concussion or a skull fracture, I was not in the hospital, I am not pregnant, I am not engaged and I do not have syphilis. However, I am getting a "D" in history and an "F" in science, ...and I wanted you to see those marks in the proper perspective.
Your loving daughter...
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 lunchtime 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, "Skippy, 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 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.
She responds by yelling, at the top of her lungs, "No, I won't sleep with you tonight!" Everyone in the bar is now staring at them. Naturally, the guy is hopelessly and completely embarrassed and he slinks back to his table.
After a few minutes, the woman walks over to him and apologizes. She smiles at him and says, "I'm sorry if I embarrassed you. You see, I'm a graduate student in psychology and I'm studying how people respond to embarrassing situations."
To which he responds, at the top of his lungs, "What do you mean $200?"
Before it got out of hand he thought of a way to stop it. He gathered all the girls together that wore lipstick and told them he wanted to meet with them in the ladies room at 2pm. They gathered at 2pm and found the principal and the school custodian waiting for them.
The principal explained that it was becoming a problem for the custodian to clean the mirror every night. He said he felt the ladies did not fully understand just how much of a problem it was and he wanted them to witness just how hard it was to clean.
The custodian then demonstrated. He took a long brush on a handle out of a box. He then dipped the brush in the nearest toilet, moved to the mirror and proceeded to remove the lipstick.
That was the last day the girls pressed their lips on the mirror!!!
All smiles, I went into breakfast, and there sat my wife reading the newspaper as usual. She didn't say a word. So I got myself a cup of coffee and thought, "Oh well, she forgot. The kids will be down in a few minutes, they will sing 'Happy Birthday' and have a nice gift for me."
There I sat, enjoying my coffee, and I waited. Finally the kids came running into the kitchen yelling, "Give me a slice of toast! I'm late! Where is my coat? I'm going to miss my bus!" Feeling more depressed than ever, I left for the office.
When I walked in, my secretary greeted me with a big smile and a cheerful. "Happy Birthday, boss," She then asked if she could get me some coffee. Her remembering my birthday made me feel a whole lot better.
Later in the morning, my secretary knocked on my office door and said, "Since it's your birthday, why don't we have lunch together?" Thinking it would make me feel better, I said, "That's a good idea."
So we locked up the office, and since it was my birthday, I said, "Why don't we drive out of town and have lunch in the country, instead of going to the usual place?" So we drove out of town and went to a little out-of-the-way inn and had a couple of martinis and a nice lunch. We started driving back to town when my secretary said, "Why don't we go by my place, and I will fix you another martini?" It sounded like a good idea, since we didn't have much to do at the office. So we went to her apartment, and she fixed some martinis.
After a while, she said, "If you will excuse me, I think I will slip into something more comfortable," and she left the room. In a few minutes, she opened her bedroom door and came out carrying a big birthday cake. Following her were my wife and all my kids, and there I sat with nothing on but my socks.