A child after my own brain


Brain disorders run in my family. People are often surprised to hear this because they didn’t even know that we had any brains to disorder.


I diagnosed the disorder, Foerster’s Syndrome, after reading about it in a book. As a diagnostician, I rank up there with the best – probably a full colonel or possibly a general. Once I am given the symptoms of a disease, I have the uncanny ability to discover it in either myself or my loved ones. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve saved my life by catching a disease early.


Just last month I narrowly escaped a serious problem after reading an article about a man with a runny nose who mistakenly thought he had allergies. My nose happened to be running when I read the story, so I realized I probably had whatever he had. And what he had was a leaky brain. Every time he blew his nose and even when he didn’t, brain fluid leaked out.  Please stop for a minute and re-read that last sentence.  Brain fluid! Leaked out! Of course, the first thing I did was tell my husband that I loved him but I wouldn’t be able to do anymore housework. I needed to spend my last days savoring life and the box of dark chocolate truffles in the cupboard.


Miraculously within a week and most of the box of truffles, I recovered. My brain stopped leaking and I went back to finding excuses not to mop the kitchen floor.


I’ve diagnosed a number of family members with Foerster’s Syndrome, which causes compulsive punning: my husband (moderate), brother (severe), brother-in-law (chronic) and me (egregious). Due to excessive exposure, both of my children are allergic to puns, which thankfully does not cause their noses to run. When the punning becomes excessive, they themselves run, taking their noses with them, but that is a different problem, one I’m still trying to diagnose.


My despair over not having a child who can put up and pun up with me vanished last week, however, when we visited family in Texas. Three conversations, all with my grandchild, convinced me that the brain disorder would not die with me.


The First: My grandchild discovers that Uncle Harley’s grandchildren call him Pawdaddy.


“That’s because his dog has paws!”


The Second: My daughter mentions to the child that the eggs are excellent.


“That’s because they’re eggs—cellent.”


The Third: My niece shows the child a picture of a tarantula taken at their ranch.


“It must be a ranchula.”


My daughter is still trying to recover from the pain and shock. I, however, feel delighted. A child after my own heart. A child after my own brain.


Photos: Paw Egg Tarantula

Once a pun a time, or why you shouldn’t judge me


Samuel Johnson frowning at Shakespeare's puns (courtesy of Wikipedia)


Samuel Johnson called punning the lowest sense of humor. I would take offense but the man is dead, and he wouldn’t care. When he wasn’t speaking ill of puns, Johnson collected words to put in his little dictionary of the English language, frowned through all of Shakespeare’s plays because they are full of puns and then annotated them out of spite, got grouchy and criticized literature (in a scholarly way), and tossed off poems, essays, and biographies before breakfast.


So, yes, we have a lot in common. But, we do not share the same opinion about puns. I think of them as the dark chocolate of humor; good any time of the day, at or between meals, with coffee or wine, with or without nuts, and in all forms.

Well known pharmaceutical company (photo by gabrielsaldana at http://www.flickr.com/photos/gabrielsaldana/5704626269/


I know what you’re thinking. No, friend, I am not addicted to chocolate. I use it purely for medicinal purposes. First, chocolate is good for the heart. I have loved chocolate since before I remember, and that’s how long my heart has been beating. If I stop eating chocolate, my heart may stop. I can’t risk that. Second, chocolate is good for the brain. You have only to read this blog to see the effects of lots of dark chocolate on my brain. Impressive, no? (Note: some questions on this blog are for rhetorical purposes only and in no way imply that you need to answer.)


As for the compulsive punning, I have spoken of it once before, and it is a kind of brain disorder called Foerster’s Syndrome that I self-diagnosed years ago. I have been self-diagnosing for years and have experienced multiple medical miracles along with bouts of alliteration in which I have been healed of life-threatening diseases of the nervous system, the digestive system, and for a short time, the bubonic plague, all without any medical intervention whatsoever. My baffled doctors attributed my symptoms to indigestion and the common cold. As if. No doubt there’s a connection between their bafflement and lack of chocolate.


All I’m asking for is a little compassion, friend, if and when I publish a post full of puns, even if it’s tomorrow.