Friday, August 12, 2011


Some days I fear I am getting dumber by the minute. Didn’t I used to be fairly intelligent and well-read, able to think through complex problems and arrive at reasonable solutions? These days I consider it a major intellectual accomplishment if I’m able to remember that I have to put my underwear on first, then my shorts.

I am at least grateful that my brains
didn't dribble out my ears until after
I got my degrees
(You might think I’m joking about that, but not too long ago I found myself getting dressed, with my shorts already on and my underwear in my hand, thinking something’s wrong here but I just don’t have the intellectual chops today to figure out what it is.)

Part of the reason why I’m so dumb these days is that I am not getting very much sleep -- Baby W is waking up six or seven times a night. He used to be an excellent sleeper, back when he sucked his thumb. Now he completely rejects his thumb. It’s as if Baby W were Rhett Butler, and his thumb was Scarlett O’Hara, and he just didn’t give a damn. Baby W’s thumb is going back to Tara, because tomorrow’s another day. I, on the other hand, am – wait, who am I in this analogy? Can I be Ashley Wilkes? He seems like a fellow who gets a solid 8 hours.

Being sleep-deprived and brain-addled has a negative effect on my work performance. For starters, I have suddenly have started having problems figuring out whether the word I want to use is “effect” or “affect.” All my life I’ve mocked people with that problem, and now I’m becoming one of them. Next thing you know, I’m going to start mixing up “lose” and “loose,” and start using the word “definately.” For better or worse, if I start making those errors, it will mean that my brain has shut down past the point of return and I am on life support. Please make sure my organs go to someone who can spell.

I can trace part of this brain loss back several years, to a period of a few months where I actually watched television. You know how pregnant women get weird food cravings? My weird craving was that I wanted to watch television, in particular the show Cops, which has real-life videos of people even dumber than me, and proving it. Also very few of them wore shirts.

David, being the attentive partner of a pregnant woman, taped a bunch of Cops shows and we watched them as often as we could. In retrospect, I believe that watching that show had a significant negative effect on my brain power, one that took years to fully develop. It’s like getting multiple concussions – you don’t experience the consequences immediately, but ten years later your brain is basically mashed potatoes and gravy. (My brain, on the other hand, resides in the body of a Madison hippie, so it will become baba ghanoush with a side of whole wheat pita.)
This explains quite a bit

And to think that I exposed my unborn child to the damaging effects of that television show! When Stella gets a C in Algebra, that will be my fault.

Maybe I should just accept that I am a victim of late-30s brain decay, and embrace my plummeting intelligence. That will give me the cover I need to engage in low-IQ activities, like questioning why the president is only wearing one flag lapel pin. I’ll ask David to start using shorter words when talking with me, and to steer clear of initiating any discussions that involve Keynesian economic policy. (Actually, that’s pretty much a standing order in our house anyway.) But I think I could get used to get used to my new limited capacity. In time, is it possible that I could even come to enjoy getting dumber? Yes, definately!

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