I think it would be appropriate if I were momentarily serious while discussing my recent and actual brain surgery.
If you have had brain surgery you may be thinking “Who gives a flying burrito about your brain surgery?” A completely understandable reaction, especially since I don’t give an enchilada platter about yours either.
In the words of the orange-haired man leading us toward the vending machines in the wilderness (correct change only), our righteous refusal to give a refried bean about anybody else is what makes us so full of guacamole. Remember, he insists, that includes not worrying about anyone’s brain but your own as well. Presuming you have one.
Apropos of which, I’ve developed a new appreciation for the old saying that, just as you can’t have politics without tics, you can’t have brain surgery without a brain.
Nowadays, if someone questions my grasp of topics like nihilism, obstatism, the importance of strong safety pins in Sumo wrestling, the many ingredients of SPAM found at Chernobyl — or who sneers “Where were you when they handed out the brains?” — I present my hilarious medical bill. I note the line-item “Searched for and found brain, $21,078.” I counter-sneer “Anyone ever found your alleged brain?”
As we grow older, our brain tends to shrink like a slowly deflating balloon animal — I like to picture a Koala bear. What’s needed is an immediate streaming of content (formerly known as stuff) including alternative facts, gorilla-walks-into-a-bar jokes, Sudoku solutions, nachos, lyrics to Jumpin’ Jack Flash, memory foam, a distorted photo of Link Wray and the Wraymen, Welcome to the Basement re-runs on You-Tube and more nachos.
Without enough content, your Koala bear becomes indistinguishable from a shitzu, leading to the dreaded “no-brainer” diagnosis.
Q. Did you consider the less expensive option of an appendectomy?
A. As with common sense, the thought never entered my mind. Here’s the deal: Late one night I set out on a walk. I was attached by leash to a large, inexperienced dog (related by marriage.) Suddenly, the dog barked and leapt after a hill troll — visible only to canines and mummers. Yanked off-balance, I careened downhill at 150 miles an hour. A voice (Mine? The dog’s?) shouted “Let go of the leash, Pat. Now, you idiot!” followed by “Who are you calling an idiot?” Too late, I bounced, cranium-first, onto a concrete sidewalk.
Q. Did you seek medical attention or just whine?
A. I staggered home, bleeding and soaked in dog slobber. K-Mac rolled me in gauze, stood me in a corner to dry, milked the cows and finished painting the barn. I passed the NFL’s Broken Bonehead Protocol, allowing real men to continue being real after correctly answering “Like a wrecking ball,” to the question “How does your head feel?” Three weeks later, unable to assemble my underwear without falling over, K-Mac drove me to a hospital (The NFL was closed). I was relieved of my overwear, my underwear and my medicare card (which has since melted).
Q. Why didn’t you just try poking your brain with a stick?
A. Because, hey, sticks don’t grow on…um, I mean, my doc had a medical degree and a very cool miner’s headlamp. He said my neuro-noodle was leaking fluid like a cracked radiator. He cut out a chunk of my thick skull (Specifically, the W in my “Born to be Wild” tat.) He ran a shop vac in and out, laid down a new coat of (antiseptic) garage-floor paint and reinserted the chunk. (K-Mac is pleased that I’m now “Born to be Mild.”)
Q. What lessons did you learn?*
A. No more running downhill in the dark. Outriggers a must when I go out without a leash. Urge Congress to outlaw hill trolls. At the very least, hills.
*Laughing at brain surgery, even when it’s your own, is one of our last taboos (just ahead of laughing at yourself.) Most surgery is no fun, not funny and sucks mud through rocks. A prayer, then, for all who find themselves angry and frightened and unconvinced that, somehow, it’s all good. It isn’t. I mean, unless it is.
©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013-2017, all rights reserved.