Pinball Wizard

My thoughts don’t travel in a straight line; they never have. Their patterns resemble a pinball machine more than anything else. On dark nights when I’m having trouble falling asleep, I think I see an occasional flash of light-through-plastic. Sometimes I think I can hear the sound effects, too, the bings and bongs, points adding up, and an occasional TILT.

I’ve lived with this warped logic so long, I usually don’t notice my brain’s machinations. Today, however, I became aware of it on the way to the grocery store. It went something like:

I like that post on Facebook by the British nanny about what’s wrong with today’s parenting. I like that she used the word “subsuming.” There will always be an England, (glancing down at the Syrius radio display, I see the next song up is called “The Biggest Part of Me”), oh, no, I do NOT want to listen to a song about somebody’s bottom.

At this point I make the turn into the parking lot, interrupting the previous string and starting another.

I can hear Bryan now. I ask, “Don’t you ever think about things like this?” He answers, “Never!” and he looks glad.

Maybe that’s why I was so dysfunctional in Algebra. I hated being shackled and forced to think step-by-step. While I was inverting, cross-multiplying, and diligently looking for X, my brain was running in circles, thinking that my car, Beastie, needed a good wash, I liked Robert Burns’ long-leggety beasties, do they have Algebra in Scotland, and do they pronounce it Algebrrra?

Oddly, the only time I remember my mind not bouncing around like a pinball machine was when I was in labor. I just remember thinking Pain! and What the hell do you mean, don’t push?

A trip from Point A to Point B for me looks like a trip through the Shire on those twisty little roads. Another of my traits that appalls my husband is that I read the last few pages of a novel first. That just flies all over his poor, logical brain. We don’t discuss this anymore. The last time we did, I saw him looking at me like I drink blood.

Even as a child, I was surrounded by less-imaginative, plodding minds. I learned not to tell my mother what I was thinking; it just irritated her. My siblings thought I was crazy. I always felt my father understood, but he didn’t say much either way. It was easier to get along with my mother if he didn’t make personal comments.

Perhaps I got an old soul, one worn threadbare by others and often-mended. I can picture myself as Da Vinci’s housekeeper, sneaking peeks at his work and making occasional suggestions. I don’t see myself actually being Da Vinci or anyone like that, but maybe that’s the result of gender stereotypes ingrained during my childhood. I might have been Joan of Arc, though. I have a tendency toward the unladylike and an inordinate fear of being burned at the stake.

Now you see how my mind works, if you’re still here and trying to follow, you may be a pinball wizard, too. Here’s a test:

1. When asked a question, do you toss out at least five inappropriate answers before finding one you can use in polite company?

2. Do those five answers cover at least four different topics?

3. Do you think Jim Carrey is an intellectual?

4.  Can you watch “Cosmos” and understand it while compiling a list of shoes you wore in the 4th Grade?

5. Are you the go-to database of odd trivia for your entire family and several neighbors?

Five “yes” answers mean you’re either a pinball wizard or a complete loon. Either way, you’re too much like me for comfort. Get some help.


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