We hear so much about senior moments, having a senior moment, or commenting about a friend’s senior moment. Why beat around the bush with polite euphemisms? Let’s call it by its real name: a brain fart. We all know what a brain fart is and most of us have experienced them more than once. Brain fart is a less judgmental, more universal and funnier phrase than senior moment.
Most brain farts are very simple and innocent events and then there are some rather major incidents. It is not a problem to look at our watch to check the time and then look again mere seconds later to check again, forget what you went into a room to find, or momentarily forget a common word or place name. These are mere blips in life, no big deal, no problemo. Now when you forget your phone number, your anniversary or how to spell “common” words these can be more embarrassing. One M or two Ms in common? Good thing I have spell check. I needed to check a real dictionary for euphemism to verify spelling and usage.
The very simple act of not knowing something that is very obvious or well known reduces the smartest people to mere dolts. A true Homer Simpson phrase comes to mind, “duh.”
My brain farts usually occur when I’m alone or with my wife. I will laugh it off and proceed with other activities. Famous people or those vying for public office are not so fortunate. Two recent public examples of brain farts contributed to the failure of Rick Perry’s and Herman Cain’s campaigns for the GOP’s presidential nomination. Perry couldn’t remember one or two of the three government departments he planned to eliminate and Herman Cain stumbled over a question about Libya, maybe he was thinking about labia instead; the devastating results of their sudden onset of ignorance was compounded by the intense publicity of the political process. First class, penultimate brain farts doomed their political aspirations. Maybe brain farts are part of Darwin’s theory of evolution. Too many brain farts can cause a species (in this case politicians) to become extinct.
I am fortunate that cameras don’t follow me around. Three or four brain farts sneak out daily. And I don’t even smell them. Sometimes I can escape by pretending I was doing something else, when in fact I experienced a brain fart.
Some researchers claim to have discovered the causes of brain farts and have even developed a timeline of events that lead up to the actual BF (I’m tired of writing brain fart). Going through a doorway or into another room creates a “boundary” event and that change of location can cause people to lose their thoughts momentarily. The cure is the reset: go back and start over. Spinning auto wheels create an illusion of reverse movement that causes confusion and loss of focus. Other BF causes include unnatural sounds, beeps, phone rings and two dimensional objects. These explanations are a bit more convoluted and just thinking about the logic causes BFs.
My not so famous nephew stayed overnight at our home this week and had a boundary event. He put his phone and charger in an unfamiliar location and left for his appointment without it. He drove away and then came back to retrieve his phone. I called his phone and we discovered it hiding in plain view on the counter. BFs occur to all of us no matter our age, another reason not to call these occasional mental lapses senior moments.
Ten minutes before a BF occurs our brains start tuning out and setup the conditions for a later BF. Five minutes before a BF reduced concentration is evident. Thirty seconds preceding a BF our brains are in turmoil. Then – boom – a blast. The most likely result ten seconds later is embarrassment and panic. The panic usually results in another stupid act while trying to cover up the goof. Isn’t science wonderful, and I wonder who paid for this research?
Sports analogies are often used to explain complex concepts. Not so for BFs, but in fact BFs are used to explain common sports errors. A baseball outfielder miscounts the outs and throws a ball into the stands thinking the inning is over, when it was only out number two, and a base runner scores. The manager claims the player had a BF. Sporting activities are a matter of inches or split seconds and performance is known to diminish due to dehydration. So hydration is promoted as a cure to baseball BFs. Would that cause a wet BF?
Others speculate that boredom is a factor in the creation of BFs. Perhaps the mind is tired, sluggish or just not focused. Well get off your duff! Get creative, write a blog, email a friend, read a favorite poem, volunteer your time or clean the junk from your desk or work area. Perhaps take a different route to the market or work. Do something different to get the cobwebs out of your head.
Bill Gates and his team of smart fellas should add a smell checker to our brains and then they would be fart smellers.
What’s that smell? I think it was a senior moment, which smells better than a BF. Now, what was I writing about?
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