Tuesday, January 31, 2012

My Inner Retard

We all use our brains in different ways, but I’ve noticed that almost everyone has what I call an “inner retard.” For higher cognitive functions, we use the part of our brain that is the most highly developed. But lots of things don’t require high-level analytical thinking, so there’s a part of your brain you use for such things. It can’t read or write, doesn’t appreciate art, can’t tell the difference between a filet mignon and a Big Mac. If you are scratching your ass, you delegate that task to your inner retard while the rest of your brain does something hard, like writing a blog. Which is very hard to do while scratching my ass.

We flew to Boston last week and met up with some old friends. One of them, who I will call Prudence, drove my wife and I to Maine, where we would be staying with other friends in their converted barn. The drive normally takes about 3 and a half hours, but we made it in about 7 hours, partially because we stopped at L.L. Bean. This is just a small part of the snowshoe department. I had no idea snowshoes were such a big business.


The other reason it took so long is because my wife sat next to Prudence in the front seat. When two women sit next to each other in the front seat, they talk. Constantly. This requires the higher brain functions, so Prudence’s inner retard was driving.

Conditions began to deteriorate almost immediately, and soon we were driving through sleety snow and slushy, icy roads.


The windshield was frequently fouled with dirty spray thrown up by other cars, so Prudence fiddled with the wipers, which were way overdue for replacement. They streaked and chattered, smearing the gunk around until visibility was near zero. Worse, the washer fluid ran out within minutes. I interrupted a conversation concerning dresses or shoes to beg Prudence to pull off the highway.

We bought a gallon of windshield washer fluid, and I refilled the reservoir, which to my dismay was about the size of a teacup. We didn’t get far before it ran out again. And again. Eventually, it ran out of fluid and when I refilled it, the lines had frozen. We drove the rest of the way with only small clear spots on the windshield, while I clenched my teeth in terror at every turn, and the women chatted about children or cooking with fresh spices.


Once in Maine, my friend (who I will call David), took me out snowmobiling. This is me, ready to ride a snowmobile or hold up a convenience store.


Snowmobiles are very fast. This one has a speedometer calibrated up to 160 m.p.h.


Conditions were very cold and sleety, and my goggles kept icing up, impairing my vision. At one point, I looked down and noticed that I was going 60 m.p.h., and it occurred to me that my inner retard was driving. I don’t know what my primary brain was doing, but it quickly calculated that if something unfortunate were to happen at that speed, there was an excellent chance that my head would strike a tree or a rock. I putted home at a much slower speed and made the acquaintance of Mr. Johnny Walker. This delicious and short-lived bottle of Scotch Whiskey costs $22 but when you return the empty bottle, they give you a 15-cent deposit refund.


Interestingly enough, drinking is one activity that everyone trusts their inner retard to do. The next morning, my primary brain calculated that there was a very good chance that my head must have struck a tree or a rock.

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