RE: [Meditation Society of America] Funny Passage from Thurber's Memoirs
Wonderful! Amazing how timely, too. Washing the dishes late yesterday evening, my mind went into a spiral of escalating craziness as I tried to recall the name of a person – she’s a friend of a friend & there was no urgent reason, or any reason, to think about her name. I got worn out with the utterly futile task. A lesson in how not to be peaceful.
I had been trying all afternoon, in vain, to think of the name Perth Amboy. It seems now like a very simple name to recall and yet on the day in question I thought of every other twon in the country, as well as such words and names and phrases as terra cota, Walla-Walla, bill of lading vice versa, hoity-toity, Pall Mall, Bodley Head, Schumann-Heink, etc., without even coming close to Perth Amboy. I suppose terra cotta was the closest I came, although it was not very close.
Long after I had gone to bed, I was struggling with the problem. I began to indulge in the wildest fancies as I lay there in the dark, such as that there was no such town, and even that there was no such state as New Jersey. I fell to repeating the word "Jersey" over and over again, until it became idiotic and meaningless.
If you have ever lain awake at night and repeated one word over and over, thousands and millions and hundreds of thousands of millions of ties, you know the disturbing mental state you can get into. I got to thinking that there was nobody else in the world but me, and various other wild imaginings of that nature. Eventually, lying there thinking these outlandish thoughts, I grew slightly alarmed. I began to suspect that one might lose one's mind over some such trivial mental tic as a futile search for terra firma Piggly Wiggly Gorgonzola Prester John Arc de Triomphe Holy Moses Lares and Pentates.