If I had half a brain…
I’d be able to find my glasses.
“Ah.. Yes, here they are.”
I am saying this out loud
through gritted teeth
that hold my glasses.
Now, mind you, I said, “half a brain.”
There has been a myth that we
only use ten percent of our brains.
Some people still believe that myth
the way they believe that Mr. Rogers
was a Green Beret,
or a Navy Seal,
or a Mine-Searching Dolphin.
They say Mr. Rogers wore his
to cover his tattoos.
Tom Hanks debunks
this myth of Mr. Rogers.
What was I talking about?…
Many scientists have debunked the
ten percent brain myth, including
neurologist Barry Gordon at the
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.
Hmm… Johns Hopkins…
You know, for a long time
I thought it was possessive
with an apostrophe:
Like, “Hopkins” was a malady
or a specialized field of study,
one that John was especially
I assure you
this is really what I thought.
And I know this kind of thing is not
funny to anybody in
and I’m sure as all get-out that
it’s not funny to anybody
They’ve heard it all before and
they roll their eyes,
and they hate Johns Hopkins being
made fun of. (Just as the great
philanthropist and abolitionist
himself hated being made
fun of during his childhood
for having a plural first name.)
But say it’s true,
that ten-percent-brain thing.
Then if somebody’s only using
that would be
only five percent.
Maybe that’s it!
Maybe ninety-five percent of some
brains are too busy pondering
their own existence.
Brains like that are into themselves…
and want to stay into themselves.
One with such a brain only wants to be around
other brains just like it.
Those brains aren’t really doing any work…
ninety-five percent of the time.
A brain housed in a human
such as that
is hard to reach.
For such a brain
the ten percent theory makes sense.
(Or even my own — ahem — newly minted five percent theory.)
(( DOUBLE parentheses: Hmm… When I felt compelled to boast, I felt the need to clear my throat.
And I shined my nails on my shirt.
Why does conceit require such shiny fingernails?))
A brain is as close to us as can be.
It can be no closer.
But it is caged and elusive,
hidden forever from the eyes
it, itself, controls.
Maybe our job is to lift those eyes.
(And allow our fingernails their natural matte finish.)
Maybe we should lift our eyes
to other eyes powered by
(Serious Scientific-y public speaking voice — lots of reverb):
I propose we search for these
housed in heads
that our own observant brains
might ascertain are from
Or just other neighborhoods.
Or just… other.
That’s a one hundred percent brain.
©Andy Offutt Irwin