Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Of Scrambled Brains and Other Excuses - Austin

I'm trying to not let myself use the excuse of brain damage. It's a bit too convenient, however true it might be. Still I sometimes wonder if backing away from it is a form of self-deception. Whatever is going on inside this skull of mine, it's giving a neorologist an interesting challenge. His focus has been primarily to try to discover why my brain (yes, he seems to think I have one) picks up something different than my eyes actually see. Double and triple images with each eye individually has me choosing a designated driver most of the time. Now I know there are explanations for those kinds of images, often followed by headaches the next morning. I'm not a habitual drinker but I will confess that I had a sip of wine at a wedding last July. Should I have told the doctor about that?

Scrambled brains for breakfast, lunch and supper -- according to one talk -- should give me a big boost up the evolutionary ladder. When our forebears learned to crack skulls (according to the aforementioned theory) they made a huge jump in total calories and improved their survivial chances. My trouble is, I can't see the ladder clearly enough and so keep missing rungs. Besides that, I think there may be an evolutionary down-side if the brain you are feeding on happens to be your own. So if I'm evolving faster than the rest of you, I'm tempted to call it a mixed blessing.

Certain areas of memory have recently been misplaced. My glasses, that no longer perch on my nose through all my waking hours, now habitually lose themselves. They turn up in all kinds of strange places: at the computer, beside the phone, on the clothes dryer, or on the dining room table. They are even found on the piano at least once a day -- hard to explain for a guy who cannot play this instrument. Other changes also call for explanation. Great old classics I have treasured and returned to through the years, have invariably shrunk. Somebody has gone through our bookshelves with a reducing ray. There are enough people in this world desperate to lose weight that I'm sure it could have been used where it was appreciated. But I will walk through the house and pull a book off the shelf that I read just a few years ago and the type is TOO SMALL. That is a cruel trick to play on a book lover.

There are, however, certain compensations. The reducing ray has missed a few -- very few -- stories I've known and loved. A case in point is The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas. I thought I could have told you the whole story line, but just a week ago I re-read it. Is there some lingering effect in the air from that reducing ray? The story was fresh with all the richness of a treasure newly discovered. Jane Eyre sits on that same shelf. But alas, Charlotte Bronte's incredible prose has been shrunk. Still, The Yearling has survived, and The Good Earth. John Bunyon's The Pilgrim's Progress apparently only got a half dose. It will cost headaches, but can still be read.

Since I'm trying to avoid using brain-damage as an excuse, I have to come up with something else. It might be the number of birthdays behind me, although I know people with more candles on their cake who seem able to function as if they still had all their marbles. What hair I have left carries the distinct look of "wisdom." I'm welcome in gray-haired company these days. It really is a shame that looks can be deceiving.

I've got a collection of great excuses. I've saved them for years, typing them into a special file in the computer. Just one little problem. I can't remember the file name. Now is there a better excuse than brain damage for that?

1 comment:

Peter Black said...

Hello Brian,
No I don't have "any better excuse than that," but I do have a smile on my face, and an offer of compliments on your entertaining reflection of this stretch of your journey.
If humour could make all problems go away, you would have none. It certainly is helping you get through yours.

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