The other day, I was reading through a thread on Twitter.  (Note: Do NOT try this a home, unless you are a trained Twitter observer, as I am.)  The thread started out with a discussion on the Senate health care bill, which led to varying opinions on the sexual habits of porcupines and eventually concluded with a discussion on everything wrong with the holodeck on Star Trek: The Next Generation.  Now that’s some serious twittering there, and I could think of a thousand different directions to go with that, but really three points stick out above the rest.  1) I think porcupine sex could be a fascinating topic, and one which I intend to explore further once I get that plum job as a journalist for National Geographic.  Or maybe Playboy.  Whichever one can pay me the most.  2) The holodeck really is a lazy plot device on TNG and episodes involving it were rarely any good, although that episode where we found out that Lt. Barkley was using the holodeck exactly the same way every nerd I know would be using it was pretty cute.  3) I really need to quit overthinking things.

I bring this up because I went to my high school reunion last weekend and it was for real, too, not some program I cooked up for the holodeck.  A couple of months ago, I wrote a blog post in which I posited I might not go to the reunion.  It wasn’t that my fellow alums are bad people or my past experiences at reunions were bad experiences.  It was just that most people look back on their high school experiences nostalgically (Surprise!) and my memories mostly involved hiding in plain sight, an activity I continue to engage in at social gatherings to this day.  I had doubts that I would have any fun.  So, I agonized over it for months and then I started getting texts from former classmates, gently asking if I was going to come.  They meant well, but I’m not sure it helped.  I waited until the last week before sending in my check.

As it happens, the reunion was a lot of fun.  I give much credit to the organizers.  Early on, they made the decision to have the reunion at an outdoor venue, a highly risky proposition in Kansas in June.  But the weather was perfect and there’s something about being outside that gave the event a more mellow feel.  It was easy to simply hang out, enjoy the encroaching dusk, and just be yourself.  I’ve never had anything but admiration for the great majority of my classmates, who are, on the whole really good people, so it was easy to get into a good rhythm socially.  So all of that overthinking was a waste of time and energy that would have been better spent working the kinks out of my “Destination: Tahiti” holodeck program, which is woefully behind schedule (I think my wife may be sabotaging it when I’m not home).

In the aftermath, I’ve been thinking a lot about overthinking.  We all do it from time to time, unless you’re a sociopath.  I believe they call that phenomenon is “paralysis by analysis.”  Sometimes, overthinking is a good thing.  If we’re deciding to launch nuclear weapons, I want my leaders to overthink that decision a lot.  Most of the time, it just gets in the way.  If you’re a Christian like I am, it could be getting in the way of what God really wants for you in this life.  I believe they call that phenomenon “lack of faith.”

This week, I had a brief e-mail exchange with a classmate of mine about a television program we’d both seen.  It’s an enjoyable program, but one that strains credulity from time to time (I wrote about it a while back). She said that her method for dealing with that situation is GWI (Go With It).  As long as it’s enjoyable and harmless, then it shouldn’t be that hard to ignore the plot holes for a while.  GWI seems like pretty good advice for most situations, even beyond the television world.  Perhaps not for nuclear war.  Most situations aren’t nuclear war.

I could go on in this deeply philosophical vein, but I’m scheduled for some holodeck time, this time with the “Woodlands” program.  National Geographic just called and I’ve got a lot to learn about porcupines.

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