Thursday, May 6, 2010

My Brain is a Stranger

My Brain Is a Stranger

Do you ever have those moments when you wonder who you are? My brain is a stranger at times, cooking up concepts and ideas that I have no part in. I lecture my wife about not using her favorite expression “s**its happen” in front of our young son. Then I turn around and cut lose an expletive laden tirade against those flipping a**holes in Customs who levy a P1,800 fee for inbound shipment of two pairs of size 12 flip-flops costing P2,200.

I don't know that hot-headed hypocrite, the guy who says one thing and does another.

Or take that cute chick next door with the big bazoos. I'm a happily married man, loyal and true, but the stranger in my brain ogles her like a lion in the grass salivating over fresh meat down by the watering hole. Who is this guy who preaches high values and propriety and doing the difficult things that must be done, yet lusts automatically, without even thinking. My brain has a life of its own, I'm certain. It is not me. It's on its own.

Or the arrogant bastard who struts his blogs as if he knew down to the dimple on Jesus' knee what makes the world, and especially the Philippines, tick. In real life, I am a sweet and even shy guy. What happens to my brain when I sit down at the keyboard? I tell you, whoever is in there is not me. He is irreverent and cynical and obnoxious and ridiculous and manipulative. He's smarter than me, so I know he comes from somewhere else.

Maybe an alien got implanted there that day back in 1982 when I fell asleep in the haystack after Laurie and I . . . um m m never mind . . .

The words that pop out of my head prove the point. I don't even know what half of them mean, but they leap forward in perfect context as if I were Webster hisself, polishing for the publisher. Turpitude or exigency or salubrious. My brain even makes up words, like “ego economics” and the “trading of favors”. It is bound by no rules of grammar or punctuation or fine considerations of tact. It is a runamuck brain, making up words as it goes along.

Helloooooo! Who's in there? And what kind of kickapoo joy juice you been sipping on in there?

I'm sure my brain has rolled more eyes than most. It has a strange sense of humor and comes at issues from left field. Certainly Bert's eyes gyrate with each unkind observation I output about the Philippines. But really, Bert, it's not my fault. I love the Philippines.

There's a stranger in my cranium.

He did it.


  1. Well, that just goes to show how little we know about even our own "consciousness". I read somewhere that the adult mind is actually conscious just 20% of the time during its waking hours. Most of the time is spent on almost automated routine tasks that we have become so adept at (such as driving, and engaging in idle banter with co-workers) that we no longer require engagement of our higher-level thinking faculties. In that sense young children are more conscious than adults -- because everything is new to them and their minds are fully engaged a higher proportion of time than the adult mind in the day-to-day task of making sense of the world around them.

    Perhaps we migrants are fortunate, Joe. Because we had transplanted ourselves from our comfort zone and made a go at a completely new environment, we have, in a sense, become children again and therefore will have walked thru a larger chunk of our adult life with our minds engaged with an intensity not seen since we were kids. For example, unlike when living among your compatriots, in a foreign land, even a casual social conversation with a native requires more concentration than normal. Your senses and attention are more engaged as you try to sift through vernacular and idiomatic phrases that you technically know but have not internalised.

  2. benigno,

    There you go, making extraordinarily profound sense again. Maybe that is why I feel alive here, much richer somehow, than I did in my happy land existence in the US.


  3. joe am,

    Two thoughts came to mind.

    There is a sense of being of who we are, perspectively. With the right mannerism, and how we should present ourselves towards others. Then again, there is always that certain individual that does not agree with you. But what the hell, we have it made better than they. With a little bit of vested planning for the brighter future ahead, I am so there. This is the best way I can out smarted them, knowledge is not all that great you know. Friendship is.

    I was in Thenashman blogsite the other night, just kind mingled in, to my curiosity. To my surprise, wow! is not the word, more like, damn, those two "dames" was hot. Then, my arrogant manly ass behavior thought, man would I like to have those two in my..., let's leave at that, and make no conclusion neither joe am.

  4. M.E.,

    Friendship is indeed one of the riches. And as for women . . . only conclusion is there are riches there, too.



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