This is your brain and that is your brain in a coconut bra

by Ken Carpenter

I have had the misfortune to spend the majority of the last seven months on the couch, waiting for something different to happen. The bad thing was, due to illness and the evil drugs used to treat it, I could no longer rely on my brain cells to help me read books, focus on movies or find any other way to amuse myself.
Suddenly I was dumb as a dung beetle, slow as a tortoise and clumsy as a two-legged warthog. No wonder nobody saw any difference in me on the rare occasions when my saggy-eyed, zombie face showed up in public. Of course, that was in the passenger seat of the car, for my wife was smart enough to know that there would be no driving by this feeble human.
That time spent staggering from couch to bed to doctor gave me ample opportunity to explore the dimwitted universe around me through closed eyes, or open eyes that might as well have been closed. I kept waiting for my brain to come to the rescue with its usual assortment of warped, if slightly demonic, thoughts.
I wanted it to come riding up on a white horse, firing a pistol with one hand and wielding a bullwhip with the other. Instead, it chose to bounce in circles on a pogo stick, wearing a propeller beanie, a Howdy Doody mask, a coconut bra with one coconut missing and a loincloth made of Lady Godiva wallpaper.
It was obvious there was no rescue coming from that slacker, so I sighed and let things run their course. As luck would have it, my left eye became blurry, probably from disgust with its constant view, and I had to go back to the ophthalmologist who did my two cataract surgeries.
Sitting in the chair with his scope in front of my eye and my wife Joy straight across from me to provide coherent answers to his questions, he suddenly said loudly, “OK, open wide.”
My gaping maw popped open wide enough to swallow a grapefruit, and he gently said, “Hmmm, no a little farther up please.”
I was horrified, it was all Joy could do not to fall on the floor laughing and somehow the kind doctor who was not a dentist managed to keep a straight face.
“Thanks a lot brain,” I thought to myself as the doctor used his laser to clean up my lens. It was obviously not going to be my day anytime soon, not unless I could figure out how to give my brain a Homer Simpson choking. Alas, they are choke-proof.
The human brain can hold five times as much information as the Encyclopedia Britannica. Of course, there are exceptions, some permanently set at the Go Spot Go stage and others like mine at the temporary Curious George Flashes the Queen level. At least that is what I hope, a temporary lease type thing.
Men’s brains are 10% bigger than women’s, for all the good it does us. The ladies have more nerve cells in their gray matter, making it more efficient. No surprise to me.
Also no surprise is the fact that the human brain is the fattest organ in the body, showing off with 60% fat. No wonder so many guys get called fatheads. Apparently there are better names for women, and no, I am not going there.
There are 100,000 miles of blood vessels in the brain, which might explain why it is the texture of Jell-O. It could easily be carved up with a butter knife, though mine may be soup-spoon mush by now.
For over 50 years I have heard that humans only use 10% of their brain. It turns out that that old adage is false and every part of the brain has a function, so there just aren’t any excuses anymore. Drat!
The brainiacs say that the average number of thoughts that humans are believed to experience each day is 70,000. I know I had 10 or 11 today, but I won’t claim more than that.
Now I’ll leave you with the biggest and dirtiest trick my rotten brain ever pulled on me. Picture your vocal cords as a flexing circle that opens when you inhale and narrows dramatically when you exhale, trying to keep the precious oxygen trapped.
Roughly a year ago my voice began to croak like a horny toad, which I of course blamed on my illness. Actually I don’t know if a horny toad croaks or not, but I like their name, so there.
Then a few months ago, my brain decided to reverse the order for inhale and exhale. Minimal exercise, like walking ten feet, brought on gasping and wheezing that was only relieved by the prone position.
All tests showed almost perfect lungs full of oxygen. In reality, I was eventually diagnosed with a little known condition known as Vocal Cord Dysfunction, and no doctor in the world can explain its cause.
The doctor who figured mine out said back in the 60’s it was called Hysterical Laryngitis, and it was almost exclusive to pre-teen girls with high IQ’s. No lie. About that time Joy piped up and said she had it back then. The doc said, “Congratulations, I’ve never met a married couple who both had it.”
The bottom line is, your brain sends the wrong message to your vocal cords so they operate backwards, opening wide when you exhale and narrowing down when you inhale. Just imagine my gray matter doing such a thing. Ha, ha, very funny.
He also said, don’t worry, if you pass out and hit the floor your vocal cords and breathing will both begin to work properly. I mumbled something, and the doc made an appointment for me with a Speech and Breathing Therapist. One session is all it took to show me how to bypass my unruly brain and take over my breathing, and six sessions total should do it.
If one of your friends or family begins to sound croaky, don’t assume that they are just happy to see you. They likely need help.
It is my fate to have odd follow me around like a bloodhound. Much of it can be blamed on my brain, but I suppose many will say it is just desserts for a weirdo.
I can live with that.