The worst part of getting older is the constant vigilance against signs of dementia. There are other bad things: all of this wisdom sucks too (sigh), and old people toenails will be a horrible development whenever that happens. But for right now, I’m sticking with the dementia thing as the worst.
I worry about my brain. My pretty little brain. Remember when Steve Martin fell in love with that sweet-talking brain in a jar? (That movie has nothing to do with what I’m talking about. The file cabinets dump at will, making me want to wear a hardhat in my own brain.)(See what I mean?)
I never used to worry about my brain. I practically begged the world to file off my brain cells. In fact I bought very expensive commodities and sometimes withstood substantial legal risk for the expressed purpose of sloughing off extra brain cells. I was rich with brain! Brain cells could be blown off like extra latte foam.
I would willingly put my little brain in a stainless steel saltwater footbath and let fish nibble off bits, just to feel their fluttering fins. Extraneous neurotic synapse clogged up drains and piled up on the side of the plate like fried chicken skins. I had so much neuroplasticity I could grow it out and have ten inches lopped off now and then to make wigs for those without a lush head of their own neuroplasticity, the poor things.
Now, I need one of those wigs. I’m on a waiting list in Boston.
It’s 24/7 internal wrinkle watch over here. I’m Tank Girl riding the desert of my own drying mind, because I will not go gentle into that demented night.
So my brain worry lately is earworms. Our hippocampi have not been evolutionarily prepared for this input. What if a po-mo lifetime of pop culture is like sitting all day and not hunting for our own food–our bodies just weren’t made for it? Is this why I’ve been getting earworms more and more frequently? Is it stress, a cry for sleep, is it age? Is my brain full? Do I need to defrag?
A week ago someone said the phrase “burn down the house” and since them I’ve been David Byrned. I randomly exclaim “Cool Babies!” and “All wet!” Which you have to be careful about exclaiming. I picked up my kid and sang “the transportation is here-ah.” That’s the kind of thing that lands you in the home.