The problems that come with thinking
by Donald K. Sanders
I’ve been thinking for some time now about what will happen in the tomorrow land. Everyone knows what a great thinker I am, so I won’t go into that, too much. I’ve been thinking since I was about 21 years old. Before that, I was simply walking through the days looking for ways to avoid certain people that would force-feed me vegetables.
The first time I can remember thinking was when I came up with the brilliant idea to stick the spinach from my plate directly into my pocket. Sometimes an idea works out and sometimes it doesn’t. My pocket idea was great for a couple of days until Sister Conchadda told me to meet her in the laundry room directly after chapel. I didn’t know why she wanted to see me but since I had learned how to think, maybe she was going to give me some candy.
Normally, when someone walks down the long third floor hallway, their shoes would make a clacking noise so that someone at the far end could hear you coming. However, one of my shoes had the heal broken off, so when I walked it would go, “clack-hurumph, clack-hurumph, clack-hurumph.” By the time I got to the end of the hall and entered the laundry room it was, “whistle-clack-hurumph, whistle-clack-hurumph.” I thought it was pretty cool, like it was my theme song.
Around the corner my little dance ended real abruptly like. Had I known the Sister was standing there I wouldn’t have run into her like that. As it was, my face went right into her breast. I started thinking again and figured that this had to be the first time I had ever touched a real breast. Sister Conchadda didn’t like it much though. I didn’t know that a nun could curse like that.
“Are these your pants?” she ranted at me. Now normally a person could say, “Hell I don’t know, how am I supposed to know?” Normally I would have gotten away with it too. You see, on laundry day, all the boys would get into a line and take off all of their clothes except for their underwear. The fact of the matter is that we might as well not even wear the underwear because there were so many holes in them that if you put them on your head, you could see, hear, smell, and breath through separate holes.
Anyway, when you got to the end of the line, the Sister held up clothing to see if they would fit you. If it looked like a fit, that’s what you wore for the next week. You never got the same clothes twice, and there were hundreds of boys in that building. So, you can see how easy it would be to say, “Hell, I don’t know if I wore those pants!”
Like I said, “Normally I could say that.” However, these were special pants. Whoever had worn these pants worked in the kitchen and while in the kitchen, whoever wore these pants cleaned all of the grease traps. The shiny grease trap pants from the laundry were a perfect match for the shiny grease trap pants I was wearing. So there and then I started thinking again and said, “Well, those could be my pants but I’m not really sure.”
Sister Conchadda gave me an indignant look, and when she does that, one of her eyes kinda twitches a little. Eye a twitchin’, she said, “Well, I think these are your pants because inside one of the pockets I found this.” With a deep feeling of horror, I watched her pull a wad of dried-up spinach coated with pocket lint and some little sticks of grass from the playground.
There in that laundry room, Sister Conchadda made me eat that wad of spinach and I gagged a bit with each bite. I think I even threw up a little in my mouth. Halfway through the wad I told her, “I don’t think these are my pants at all, Sister.” I remember vividly the words that came from her lips that evening.
She said, “You shouldn’t think so much!”
The problem is, I’m a thinker. That’s what I do best. How can I stop now?