The Cleveland Symphony was performing Beethoven's Ninth. In the piece, there's a long passage - about 20 minutes - during which the bass violinists have nothing to do.
Rather than sit around the whole time looking stupid, some bassists decided to sneak offstage and go to the tavern next door for a quick one. After slamming several beers in quick succession (as bass violinists are prone to do), one of them looked at his watch. "Hey! We need to get back!"
"No need to panic," said a fellow bassist. "I thought we might need some extra time, so I tied the last few pages of the conductor's score together with string. It'll take him a few minutes to get it untangled."
A few moments later they staggered back to the concert hall and took their places in the orchestra. About this time, a member of the audience noticed the conductor seemed a bit edgy and said as much to her companion.
"Well, of course," said her companion. "Don't you see? It's
the bottom of the Ninth, the score is tied, and the bassists
If a parsley farmer is sued, can they garnish his wages? Would a fly without wings be called a walk? Can you be a closet claustrophobic? If the funeral procession is at night, do folks drive with their lights off? If a stealth bomber crashes in a forest, will it make a sound? When it rains, why don't sheep shrink? If the cops arrest a mime, do they tell them they have the right to remain silent? If a book about failures doesn't sell, is it a success? Do cemetery workers prefer the graveyard shift? What do you do when you discover an endangered animal that eats only endangered plants? Do hungry crows have ravenous appetites? Is it possible to be totally partial? What's another word for thesaurus? If it's tourist season, why can't we shoot them? Why do they sterilize the needles for lethal injections? Why is there an expiration date on my sour cream? Why do kamikaze pilots wear helmets? How do you know when it's time to tune your bagpipes? Is it true that cannibals don't eat clowns because they taste funny? When you choke a Smurf, what color does it turn? Do they have reserved parking for non-handicapped people at the Special Olympics? Why do they call it a TV set when you only get one? Do radioactive cats have 18 half-lives? If you shoot a mime, should you use a silencer? What was the best thing before sliced bread? How can they tell that twin lobsters are really twins? How does a thermos know when to keep something hot, hot... and something cold, cold? Why are there Braille signs on drive-up ATM's? How come you never hear about gruntled employees? What is a "free" gift? Aren't all gifts free? If white wine goes with fish, do white grapes go with sushi? What's another word for synonym? When sign makers go on strike, what is written on their picket signs? Where do forest rangers go to "get away from it all"? Why isn't there mouse-flavored cat food? Why are builders afraid to have a 13th floor but book publishers aren't afraid to have a Chapter 11? How can there be self-help groups? Why do you need a driver's license to buy liquor when you can't drink and drive? Why are cigarettes sold in gas stations when smoking is prohibited there? If a cow laughed, would milk come out her nose? Why are there interstate highways in Hawaii? Why is it that when you transport something by car, its called a shipment, but when you transport something by ship, its called cargo? Why do we play in recitals and recite in plays? Why isn't phonetic spelled the way it sounds? Are there seeing eye humans for blind dogs? When you open a new bag of cotton balls, are you supposed to throw the top one away? When your pet bird sees you reading the newspaper, does he wonder why you're just sitting there, staring at carpeting? What happened to the first 6 "ups"? If an orange is orange, why isn't a lime called a green or a lemon called a yellow? Or maybe I'll just have a big bunch of purples. Why does your nose run, and your feet smell?
On the first day of creation, God created the cat. On the second day, God created man to serve the cat. On the third, God created all the animals of the earth to serve as potential food for the cat. On the fourth day, God created honest toil so that man could labor for the good of the cat. On the fifth day, God created the sparkle ball so that the cat might or might not play with it. On the sixth day, God created veterinary science to keep the cat healthy and the man broke. On the seventh day, God tried to rest, but he had to scoop the litterbox.
A young boy had just gotten his driving permit. He asked his father, who was a Rabbi, if they could discuss the use of the car.
His father took him to his study and said to him, "I'll make a deal with you. You bring your grades up, study your Bible more, get your hair cut and we'll talk about it."
After about a month the boy came back and again asked his father if they could discuss use of the car. They again went to the father's study where his father said, "Son, I've been real proud of you. You have brought your grades up, you've studied your Bible diligently, but you didn't get your hair cut!"
The young man waited a moment and replied, "You know Dad, I've been thinking about that. You know, Samson had long hair, Abraham had long hair, Noah had long hair, and even Moses had long hair...."
To which the Rabbi replied....
"Yes, and they WALKED every where they went!"
A large two engined train was crossing America. After they had gone
some distance one of the engines broke down. "No problem," the engineer thought, and carried on at half power.
Farther on down the line, the other engine broke down, and the train came to a standstill.
The engineer decided he should inform the passengers about why the train had stopped, and made the following announcement:
"Ladies and gentlemen, I have some good news and some bad news. The bad news is that both engines have failed, and we will be stuck here for some time. The good news is that you decided to take the train and not fly."
Early one morning, a mother went in to wake up her son. "Wake up, son. It's time to go to school!"
"But why, Mom? I don't want to go."
"Give me two reasons why you don't want to go."
"Well, the kids hate me for one, and the teachers hate me, too!"
"Oh, that's no reason not to go to school. Come on now and get ready."
"Give me two reasons why I should go to school."
"Well, for one, you're 52 years old. And for another, you're the Principal!"
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 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 a quiver. "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.