"The idea is to separate your thoughts and feelings. You can have feelings, just make sure you don't feel them," the instructor said, surveying the room. Most of the students in the classroom nodded, seeming to understand. I was bored, this was the fourth time I had heard this speech. The instructor looked at me, a look of disapproval on her face.
"You're bored again Gene?"
"Is it that bad?"
"Well the thought balloon is not as clear this time, but it still slipped out of you." The thought balloons were my bane, the reason why I had to take this class every week. I hated them.
"We all hate thought balloons Mr. Manning, that's why we are here. You need to figure out how to deal with them. Yes, I know you've heard this all before. Hey, it's not my fault that you're here!" I was once again ballooning without controlling it. Sometimes my feelings got so out of hand that they popped into thoughts. People are usually quite embarrassed by it. A teenager raised her hand and the instructor walked away, giving me a look of disdain.
"Yes Ms. Kratchett?"
"Where do thought balloons come from?"
"Didn't you parents tell you?"
"Well, they gave me this hokey story about how one day God looked down on the world and saw so much lying and hatred and decided to make people's thoughts visible. So now we have thought balloons, that make our thoughts appear."
"That is correct."
"Well, how could we possibly know that?"
"It's the theory of cognitive manufacturing. Science can't explain thought balloons, so they must have been caused by an intelligent being. Since no one has disproved it, it must be true." The teenager had a thought balloon over her head that read "stupid, stupid." I chuckled. An older man from across the room raised his hand.
"Yes Mr. Wilkins?"
"What about the applied theory of particle resonance?"
"Hey, what's that?"I yelled from across the room. I'd genuinely never heard of it.
"Well, the story goes that about a century ago, they were messing with new ways to make energy when they sort of messed up the particles in the air. Since then, everything has been all..."
"Mr. Wilkins," the teacher yelled.
"That theory is a fallacy forwarded by the progressive thought movement. The common theory is that we have been punished by God."
"If we are being punished by God, then why do we work so hard to quelch the thoughts?" I asked. The class began laughing.
"Hey, what's so funny?" The woman next to me pulled out her pocket reflector and pointed it at me. Above my head, a thought balloon said "Why is this so dumb?"
"Mr. Manning, may I see you outside please?" the teacher asked. The class began laughing even further. I looked around and saw several people with thought balloons floating above them. I was too embarassed to read them.
The door slammed shut as the teacher stared me down. She was old, her skin folded upon itself in several places. Her hazel eyes still burned with intensity, showing a deep resolve for her work.
"Yes, I realize how old I am Mr. Manning. No I wasn't born with the dinosaurs. Hey, now that's not funny. Mr. Manning, would you please stop your thoughts for the time being, they are getting in the way of this conversation.