Literary Yard

Search for meaning

By: Bruce Levine

I never thought I was very smart. When it came to gray matter, I always felt that I was rather deficient. In addition to that sense of deficiency I believed that there’s the ratio of diminishing returns.

                Intelligence is like energy. I once knew someone who believed that we’re all given a certain amount of energy at birth. How we apportion that energy is up to us. If we squander it during our youth, running around and doing all sorts of energy consuming things, then, by the time we reach old age, we have none left to do anything but sit and stare into space – which may be tied into intelligence, but more shortly. On the other hand, if we apportion our energy, spreading it out over our lifetime, then we should have enough to last.

                Maybe intelligence is like energy – we’re born with a certain amount and, as previously stated, there’s the ratio of diminishing returns. Perhaps if we squander our gray matter early on in advanced courses and theoretical thinking in our youth, then, by the end of our life, we can barely balance our checkbook.

                And then there’s the mush factor. Once again, when we’re born, we’re born with a certain consistency to our brain. As we age the brain gradually gets mushier and mushier and thereby the natural effects of thinking get harder and harder, like walking through deeper and deeper pools of mud until, finally, it’s like trying to walk through quick-sand.

                And once our brains get mushy enough, they start to leak. This is when sleeping becomes important because, when the brain gets mushy enough; all that mush has to go somewhere so it starts leaking out of our ear – usually only one. That’s where sleeping counts. If you sleep with the leaky ear up from the pillow gravity plays its role and stops the mush from leaking out. On the other hand, if you sleep with the leaky ear on the pillow the mush seeps out throughout the night and, in the morning, you’ve got that much less gray matter, and less intelligence, in direct proportion to the amount of leaking during the night. It’s much like a car engine that leaks oil, eventually the engine simply stops working.

                I’m old now and I guess I didn’t apportion my gray matter well enough and didn’t sleep on the correct side because I feel like the scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz who thought – “If I only had a brain”.

                So, as I listen to the hollowness of my skull, I hear the few remaining thoughts bouncing around like the pinball machine of my mind.


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