The story of one teenager's quest to put an end to his pesky thoughts.
Martin thought about how he should probably be playing tennis or boxing or doing something more physical to pass his time than reading and writing, and also 'rithmetic. But he did that stuff all ready. His body couldn’t handle any more running in circles, straight ahead, toward, from, away, or with balls. You name it; he’d done that type of running, and gotten the t-shirt. He even broke the chain on his punching bag from pummeling it too much. Every place he could drive to, he walked to as well. He tried lifting free weights, and grew incredibly bored with that silliness. He considered making a game out of it, but could think of none except maybe a drinking game (one drink per rep), and he ultimately decided that would be counterproductive.
Martin began to think maybe he thought too much. It seemed perfectly reasonable to him when he took into account the myriad of thoughts that passed through his mind each day. Thoughts about where he was going, what he was doing, what he wanted. Thoughts about ideas, people, and places. Thoughts that included barrel racing, monkeys, and sheep that believed they were dogs. He thought about the moon, and what aliens might look like, and he thought about what his neighbor, Mr. Edwin was really keeping in his shed. He thought about time travel and what he would if he were president for a day. His thoughts ran gamut in their number and oddness.
It occurred to Martin, he needed to stop all this nonsense of thinking immediately. Besides, he pondered, where was all this thinking ever going to get him? Action! That's where the action was. After thinking for some time over the concept of his thinking too much, Martin made the decision to give up thinking.
Immediately, he thought easier said than done. Crap! He was already violating his thinking prohibition. How was he going to accomplish this massive undertaking? The answer was staring him in the face, literally, as he was perched in front of the mirror admiring his image. He needed to think about how he was not going to think anymore. He couldn't just go all willy nilly cold turkey after nearly fifteen years of thinking.
As he thought about that, something occurred to him: that was nearly 7,889,231 minutes of thinking if he conceded that he had been thinking from his birth, and didn't subtract leap years and all that rigmarole. Over 7 million! Minutes! That was something like 131,487 hours of nonstop thinking! Had anyone ever broken such a habit? Could it be done? Would he be the first? How would his portrait look hanging inside a museum? The thoughts began racing through his mind like a river through a country side.
After nearly two hours of thinking about how to stop thinking Martin decided it was time to get serious. He had to assess the situation. First off, did this no thinking business mean he had to quit drinking as well? Then he remembered he couldn’t and didn't drink anyway, so that was one less thing to think about on his quest to not think. Next, he thought maybe drinking would be a good way to not think, so he added "take up drinking" to his vision board.
Then, he decided he needed to inform others of his decision to give up thinking, so in essence, setting up a support system. He reasoned that if he felt a thought coming, he could tell someone, and they would stop that dead on. He was already excited as he was thinking less about stuff and feeling more. First up to tell: his parents. As they both slept in their recliners through his speech of passion, action, morals, and the degradation of society through thinking, Martin felt it went extremely well.
He told his brother next of his plan to stop thinking about stuff in life so much and just grab it.
"That's what she said!" his brother replied.
Martin rephrased his terminology, and his brother became as disinterested as their parents. Martin couldn't even reach his sister on the phone, and the stares he received from the various people who shuffled in and out of his life that particular day was shattering his confidence. He was starting to rethink this support system business.
Next in Martin’s plan was the key ingredient: Action. How exactly was he going to not think? He thought about how it was neat that the integral cog in the machine of not thinking was action. Action was what would keep him from thinking, and he needed action to stop thinking. He marveled at this concept, and was horrified to find he was thinking again. After some mulling, he decided to consult with experts on passing time without thought. After the local stray cat and his mother's dog didn’t add anything to his investigation of how they meandered around all thoughtless and soulless, Martin considered the next best thing: children. It seemed a natural step because they possessed all the traits of pets plus the annoying habit of actually being able to speak.
Being that he didn't exactly hang out at the local preschool as people might find that rather creepy, it dawned on Martin that he didn’t exactly know any children. Then it hit him: the prodigies belonging to his neighbor down the street! It was perfect. Martin deliberated on how he was going to broach the topic of not thinking without coming off as some person lecturing about how kids don't think. He thought candy would be the best conversation starter with children.
It played out flawlessly in his mind: he’d stroll up with a spring in his step, and say,
"Hey kids, want some candy?"
And then they would spill the beans about how they didn't think. Martin was devastated upon his arrival at the children's location only to discover that he had eaten the candy without thinking. His disappointment dawned into excitement as something occurred to him. He thought maybe; just maybe, action wasn't the key ingredient to not thinking, but children instead. The concept needed more exploration.
Martin discovered the kids engaged in a strange play. One was on their trampoline with a box on his head. He bounced. The other stood on the ground next to a pile of stones from which he proceeded to pick up, one stone at a time, and toss at the boxed head as it flailed around. Intrigued to find the kids all ready in their natural habitat Martin approached and began:
"Hey kid, what are you doing?"
It turned out their activity was a game of skill. The object being to hit the live, moving target. Martin fully understood the appeal when he got his turn. Eventually, both boys were on the trampoline with boxes on their heads as he tossed rocks at them.
"How do you kids not think about stuff?" Martin mused.
"We don't know. We just don't." the round one replied.
THWACK! He was really good at the game!
"Yes, but how do you just 'don't'?" Martin inquired again.
He got them both at once. Martin got a similar response this time from the tall one, and thought he should end the game; mainly because he was bored, and secondly, because the boys' mother had just called the three of them to dinner while laughing at their shenanigans, and thirdly because one of boys complained of being dizzy.
After dinner and another round of their game, Martin left the kids in a panic. What had he accomplished? So far, he had only managed to have a good time, a free meal, and acquire the knowledge that thinking wasn't just something you put an end to, it was something you just didn't do anymore. He made himself a mental note to clarify this fact on his vision board when got home. Unfortunately, he never got around to it. After arriving home, Martin saw there was a sci-fi movie marathon on, and became lost for hours in the soft, warm glow of that magnificent thought zapping creation: television.