The Brain And Its Uses.


I swear that was the name of my Science Fair project in fifth or sixth grade. The Brain And Its Uses. I’m not making that up. (Who could?) I was running out of ideas and the project was due at school, so I think I opened an encyclopedia and copied a diagram that looks just like the one above, saving a lot of people the time it might take to open their own encyclopedias and figure out what they might do with an extra brain around the house. Door stop? Kitchen sponge? Cat toy?

I’m sure I meant the brain and its functions (or maybe I thought that’s what I meant) and lacking parental guidance as I did, I painted a brain on a large piece of plywood. When you grow up at a lumber yard, plywood is easy to find, especially in brain-sized sheets. I painted the board black and then painted a brain on it, and wrote out the various areas of the brain, just like you see here, and nowhere on this plywood did I bother writing any brain-related functions.

I must have perceived those Science Fair smiles and guffaws as high praise for my sheer brilliance. Not one person … teacher, friend, someone else’s mother … bothered pointing out the error of my rather large headline. I thank them all.

I have no idea where that project ended up, but I can imagine it is hanging in someone’s 1960s rec room, an object of much hooting and knee slapping. “The Brain And Its…. oh, Fred, you really crack me up!”

There is no good segue for the next part of my story, so I’ll just say it: Yesterday I was cleaning out a drawer that was filled with a tangle of black cords from things like Walkmans, radios, cameras, and other small appliances. I had no idea what went where, and since I’d never gone looking for any of it, I threw the whole pile into the trash. That felt good.

And later in the day (stay with me; these stories are connected) I took my vacuum cleaner apart to figure out why it wasn’t picking up anything, and discovered the belt had snapped. Having been a housecleaner at one time, I had a pile of vacuum belts in a box under the kitchen sink, not a one of them being even close to being the size I needed, so of course all of those went into the trash, too.

But all that off to one side, as they say, I really do use my brain sometimes, and today was one of those occasions.

Why oh why can’t there be a universal vacuum belt, I wrote to Cathy, the other half of the World Domination Team. They could sell them at department stores or hardware stores in buckets, and when you needed a belt you could leave the car running on very cold days and run in and grab one and go home and get back to sucking up cat fur.

Brainiac that she is, she readily agreed and even added her own list: Why not ONE cell phone battery for all phones? Why not ONE charger for all appliances? And for God’s sake (she didn’t say that but I do) why not ONE ink cartridge that fits all printers?

Well, that’s what it’s going to be when we take over the world, which we hope will be soon because one of us had to stop at Marshall Hardware on the way home and find the belt she needed. (But honestly, isn’t that the best hardware store on earth? Answer: Yes, it is.)

So. Those are some of the uses of my own big brain. One part is used for thinking, and another part is used for considering what the first part said.

I’ll stop now before I start talking about the six mile aisle of cereals found in every grocery store. Do we need that many choices? We do not!

Relevant photos to follow. They are guaranteed to tickle that “thinking” part of your brain. I hope it’s the large part.

5 Responses to “The Brain And Its Uses.”

  1. Kathy T says:

    When you find a useless item in your house—you throw it away? i never thought of that. I always save it in case i need it tomorrow. I am impressed with you.

  2. Patt says:

    When you can no longer identify an item, it is time to throw it out. This applies to things in the refrigerator, too! (Green and fuzzy is NOT a keeper.)
    Good to hear from you…

  3. Kathy T says:

    Or that box of cords I have that go to some appliance I no longer have. As soon as I find it again, it is gone. What freedom.

  4. Lauree Guyer says:

    I am trying so hard not to hoard things, yet I often throw something out and two weeks later, I find I had a use for it after all. We really should be equipped with some kind of cognitive ability to see what we might need in the future, at least fourteen days of it.

    I agree about the cereal and I’d add frozen pizza to the list. Always interesting observations about everyday life, Patt.

  5. Patt says:

    Lauree, I’m always hoarding party supplies. You know how often I throw lavish parties? NEVER. I always think those noisemakers and paper hats and colorful sandwich picks are going to come in handy, so one of the upstairs closets has turned in to Party Central. Big parties in the past 5 years? NONE.
    Good to hear from you!

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