Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Brain Sharts

I like to think I'm an intelligent person, but I lose my reasoning power sometimes. I'm not talking about brain farts. I'm talking about brain sharts, those moments when your brain farts so hard that the wrongness comes out of your mouth as words, or out of your body as actions. It's when you say or do something so stupid that you wonder if there is brain leaking out your ears, and instead of being upset by this possibility you realize that, based on what you just said, you probably weren't using that bit anyway. I try not to let the sharts affect my self-esteem. Bad brain sharts happen to good people. I bet even Aristotle had moments when he went, "Doy."

Or, in Greek, "Doyousious."

The first brain shart I can recall happened when I was eight years old and in the third grade. All the popular kids were somehow in Mrs. French's class, and the rest of us were in Mrs. Brown's. Looking back, it was probably a regulars vs. honors thing, because rest assured most of us smart kids were losers. It was an obvious and undeniable demarcation.

But we had open classrooms, so Mrs. French taught some subjects, even to Mrs. Brown's smart losers. I was a little intimidated by Mrs. French. Somehow having the cool kids in her class made her cool. Or more accurately, I probably thought they gave her the cool kids because she was cool already.

One day Mrs. French was teaching us some bull crap. I was a straight A student but I also got bored easily, so I was spacing out during Science class, thinking about Christmas or Rainbo Brite or whatever it is eight-year-old nerds think about, and all the sudden I realized Mrs. French was calling on me. She was telling me to stand up, so I did. Meanwhile, my brain, in its preparation for sharting, whirled around in a panic while it struggled to recall what I had been hearing the teacher say in the background of my attention, behind Rainbo Brite.

And then I seized on it: she wanted us to tell her what question we would ask if we could ask God a question about nature. She had called on me. She was expecting a response. Like, now. And at that moment my mouth, reacting on a shart from my brain, decided to answer the question, "What would you like to ask God about nature?" I uttered the following sentence: "Who invented dogs?"

Now. I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "That's the most retarded question ever spoken aloud by a human." That is the correct reaction. It's the reaction I immediately had, as did the teacher and all the students, even the dumb cool ones. In fact, I knew it was sheer nonsense before I had even finished saying it. There was a moment of silence while Mrs. French, the other students, and all the choirs of angels looked at me. I was standing in the spotlight of my own shart, and I knew that Heaven and Earth would mark that sentence for all occasion as the single greatest human failure in recorded history.

God made me!
And then Mrs. French said, "Okay." And she wrote the question down on the board, which meant that after I sat down, while I tried to figure out if was possible to make oneself invisible by sheer force of will and Mrs. French probably wondered why, if I was that dumb, I was not cool enough to be in her class, I had to not look at the board, because I knew the question was up there, white on black, taunting me.

"Who invented dogs?" I still don't know why those words happened to me. My brain sharted, and that sentence came out. Sometimes I postulate theories to myself about why God, who is, ironically, the answer to that timeless question, "Who invented dogs?", let me say something so insane and stupid. One of my theories is that He was trying to give me, at an early age, a good name for an indie band. Another possibility is that He wanted me, at eight years old, to formulate an interrogative/satirical/rhetorical Darwinian critique. It's also quite possible, I have thought on occasion, that I became momentarily possessed by a demon bent on the destruction of my self-esteem, reputation, and spirit.

But the terrible fact is that when it comes to brain sharts, we just don't have the answers.


  1. Great story. One of my 'save the student teaching techniques" (used only in desperate cases) was to tell Johnny (who rarely raised his hand) was to tell him that while Moscow was not the capitol of China....... "close" :)

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