When I was 7, I decided to stop taking aspirin. “It kills your brain cells.” That’s how aspirin worked after all: like a mafia hit man, it offed any offending brain cells that got out of line (i.e. headaches). At 7, I felt that my brain cells were very much in demand and in short supply, so no thank you, aspirin, I’d do just fine without you and your brain cell killing ways. The humanity!

My grownup self happily chugs down Advil like they’re M&Ms at the first sign of a headache, a fever, a cramp. Come to Momma! I think to myself as I swallow that sweet orange-brown sugar-coated pill. Do your job, pill, and make that pain go away. I can make more brain cells, can’t I? My 7-year-old self would hate me.

But literally, what did she know? In point, here are some other things that she believed:

Behold! Lines Between States

There are gigantic white lines between states to mark the boundaries. Each state has them. And they’re exactly like they are on a roadmap or an atlas. When you drive between the states, you’ll naturally see these bold, white lines heading out left and right to the horizons – just as you can see an entire state’s — the whole world’s! — outline from space.

Imagine my utter disappointment when on our first family road trip with the map on my lap, there was only a wee sign on the side of the road. No lines. No border markings. Nothing. Just a simple sign: “Welcome to Nevada.” Nice try, Nevada. I’ll consider myself welcomed when there’s a bold, gigantic white line stretched across your highway.

We Have Flip-Top Heads

Our heads move like PacMan’s! Our jaw and our forehead move at the same time so that we are in a constant state of going “nom nom nom” to the earth, the air, the sky (and whatever ghosts may be following us).

I don’t know where I got this one because its genesis arrived before the arcade game did. When I learned we didn’t essentially have flip-top heads, I was absolutely amazed and watched people chew and talk with the kind of intensity that spoke of mistrust. No matter what my eyes saw all around me, my brain kept waiting for someone to slip up – the conspiracy revealed at last! Alas, I had it so, so wrong.

Funny thing, that brain of ours. The way it takes disparate pieces of information and like Play-do (the dough, not the Greek thinker), mashes it all together into something that resembles the truth but is in reality discolored, inaccurate, and smells a little funny.

The thing is, I do miss my 7-year-old’s understanding of the way things work. That, pressed against the discovery of the truth are some of my life’s most memorable moments. Information and facts have never been more amazing and life-altering as they were then.

Even now, knowing the things I know, I still wish we could see the shapes of the states from space.

One thought on “It’s All in Our Head

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