How to Think (1950) – By Nichele Johnston

Our short film opens with an Anthony Michael Hall-esque young man named Dick who has a nifty summer job delivering groceries. But his peaceful existence is about to shattered when his junk-heap of a jalopy is ticketed for a cracked windshield and missing headlights. Actually, it’s a miracle that the damn thing even runs at all. So Dick is ordered by a judge to have the piece of crap fixed and inspected by the end of the week or else pay a fine.. Dick has no choice since without the car he’s out of a job. What will he ever do? He has to THINK!! Dunh! Dunh! Dunh! I have a feeling this isn’t going to be pretty.

First the omnipresent narrator informs us that we have to concentrate on the problem at hand. This requires CONCENTRATION. Okay, fair enough. After wandering in meandering, pointless thinking, the now concentrating Dick takes the car to Sam the mechanic (played by none other than Cliff Robertson) and asks him to put in a good word with the judge. No, really. But hitting up the judge isn’t going to magically fix his windshield now is it? Now Dick has to use LOGIC. Does he bribe the judge and just a get another ticket next week or does he pony up and get the damn thing fixed? We can almost hear the gears turning in his as he tries to figure out how to fix up the jalopy to pass the safety inspection. If Dick represents the best humanity has to offer it’s amazing we even got this far.

Using said CONCENTRATION and LOGIC, Dick now needs INFORMATION. He moseys on over to the Inspection Bureau to get a list of what he needs to pass the safety inspection. This also requires OBSERVATION. I wonder if Dick can even spell OBSERVATION. Anyways, now Dick and Sam go over the jalopy with a fine tooth comb and decide what needs fixing. Before long Dick is practically salivating at the thought of shiny new headlights. Now Dick is using his IMAGINATION to have borderline pornographic fantasies about his future spruced up jalopy. Yeah, just check out the sparkling new windshield, baby! *drool* Back to reality, Sam says he fix up the car for $27.00 or give it the works– i.e. a guaranteed inspection pass– for $50.00. Dick nearly faints at the cost (I guess I can’t blame him for that). Then Dick tries to use his MEMORY to try remember where he can score some used parts. Dick and Sam barter back and forth. Does Dick take the cheap route and save some money, or does he let Sam put in new parts and pass the inspection? Dick uses his best JUDGEMENT and lets Sam put in new parts. Hooray! Dick decides to being a cheap bastard isn’t going to do him any good in the long run. In return, Sam lets Dick pay $10.00 a week. Isn’t life grand?

Now that Dick’s problem has been solved, the omnipresent narrator lectures us on using various thinking skills in everyday life. Did you know you think when you go shopping? Or plan a budget? Or cast a ballot? It’s true! The omnipresent narrator says so! So follow Dick’s example and concentrate on the problem, gather information, think clearly, use good judgement, and you too can have a jalopy with working headlights!! Now I’m sure Dick is going to swamped with requests from all the hot chicks in the neighborhood for groceries.