This is the story of Theo when he was eight and not so rottenish yet.
Theo thought he needed a hobby; actually, his parents insisted he do something other than skulk around claiming he was bored all the time.
All his friends had hobbies: sports cards, stamps, coins, trainspotting, advanced robotics, …
One of his friends even collected teeth; but his father was a dentist, so that was only mildly disturbing.
Theo decided to collect his thoughts.
He would put them in jars, label them, and keep them in a bookcase that was really doing nothing except holding a bunch of books.
He thought about all the thoughts he thought in one day …or at least thought about all the thoughts he thought he thought about in one day … and realized he had too many thoughts to collect all of them.
He only had 35 jars, so he decided “happy thoughts” might be a good start.
Over the next few weeks he collected and organized all his “happy thoughts” about finding money, ice cream, toys, running through sprinklers, …
In no time at all, all his jars were full!
Surprisingly, 3 jars were exclusively filled with “happy thoughts” about ice cream!
It was a very fine collection of thoughts.
He soon realized that since all his “happy thoughts” were bottled up, labelled, and stacked away; he had a very large number of “sad thoughts” floating around in his head.
With no “happy thoughts” to chase the “sad thoughts” away, they just lingered.
This made him sadder.
Theo decided it would be a good idea to free all his “happy thoughts” and start collecting his “sad thoughts” instead.
He refilled his jars with “sad thoughts” about broken bones, no dessert, vaccination needles, dropped ice cream cones, dentist visits …
It took him a whole month to fill up all 35 jars.
He concluded that “sad thoughts” were more difficult to trap than “happy thoughts” because they didn’t like jars.
With no more “sad thoughts” in his head, Theo thought he’d be really happy: but he wasn’t.
Without any “sad thoughts” to balance his “happy thoughts“, his “happy thoughts” weren’t as strong or happy anymore … kind of like appreciating being healthy a lot more after being sick … or how a cold Winter makes Spring’s arrival so much better. He needed both sadly, or happily.
Theo decided to release his “sad thoughts” and resolved never to collect his thoughts ever again.
He used the 35 jars to catch colds instead.
note: The jar of asparaguses on the floor is not a “sad thought“: Theo just dropped it accidentally on purpose while walking by the bookcase on the way to the dinner table. He had a “happy thought” right after he did this for some reason.