Friday, May 7, 2010

Brain Power

This just needs to be said: I've never been very bright.

No, it's true; I'm not asking you to argue with me. I was one of those kids for whom elementary school teachers bust out the term "emotional intelligence" during parent-teacher conferences because they needed to say something nice before they told my mom I was spacey and generally unmotivated. Let's take a look at the data, shall we?

1. I was the last kid in my kindergarten class to count to 100 (although [and here I begin making excuses for myself] in my defense, the teacher did keep telling me to count as high as I could, which I interpreted to mean "as high as you feel like counting," which I think you'll agree are two different things).

2. I had to take Reading instead of Latin in 8th grade for my Language Arts credit. I was the only kid in there not specifically diagnosed with some condition on the autism spectrum. As my sister likes to say, "Yeah, it was you and a bunch of mouth-breathers."

3. In 6th grade I failed Math II partly because I was bad at math and partly because I kept factoring the number of the problem into the actual equation I was supposed to be solving.

In summary, the problem with me is not that I'm stupid. The problem with me is I'm inattentive and I don't really give a care about getting things right unless I'm emotionally invested in the outcome. I came to terms with that when I was about four and a half, and until yesterday I haven't really reconsidered my position.

But yesterday I was riding in the car with Rachel, a friend who is way more of a go-getter than I am. We were talking about geriatric brain health, and Rachel says "I do online brain strengthening games because I don't want to get Alzheimer's." (She is like 27 years old.) So, evidently, if you don't sometimes make your brain solve problems, work fast, remember things, pay attention, etc., it's going to turn into a lump of soupy mush and you'll end up not remembering your spouse or children when you're 75. This is terrifying to me. In fact, I would rather have all my limbs amputated, including my head.

So, I went right home last night and started playing computer mind games (, and Gott en Himmel, you guys. Good thing I started now, because let me put it this way: I have a lot of work to do.

This particular website puts you on a training course where you play these little games like they have in computer labs for 3rd graders. In one of them, there are little bubbles falling from the sky with math problems in them and you have to solve them in your head before they hit the ground. (Turns out I don't know my multiplication tables. Surprise! ) In another, they give you a grid with a pattern on it, and then they clear the grid and you have to reproduce the pattern exactly. In another game they show you two things at once on a screen and you have to accurately identify what each object was as well as its placement. I'm pretty good at this last one. The math one actually makes my hands sweat.

In conclusion, so what? I have a weak brain! I'm gonna work on that. All this so I'll recognize Odessa so I can yell at her for putting me in a nursing home! Small price to pay, I say.


  1. Honey, you worried 'bout the WRONG thing with the genes you got. One grandma 91 and the other 99, and they both can out think a fox.

    You planning to eat lots of food out of Aluminum cookware? 10 years ago, that's where Alzheimer's was suppose to come from eatin out of pots and pans.

    The excercises are fun, but a 5th grader could beat you cause you got too much other stuff to worry about...quit everything else and spend your life doing stupid stuff like those 5th graders have to do, you could beat a 5th grader...and me, too!

    They are sorta' fun though, better than Jewel Quest...there's one I can't even understand the direction for... even with help from Janice.

  2. I try and do a crossword puzzle a day to keep the old mind in check!