Monday, June 25, 2012

My Funcussion

This is not farce. It's all true.

Nobody likes hitting their head, but it's worse for me. First, I'm tall. So my head gets hit more often than most. Also, I hit my head a lot as a kid (which might explain a lot). So, when my head gets hit, deep emotional memories are triggered. It's more drama than I'd prefer.

I'm not sure how it happened, but sometime on Friday I found myself sprawled on the ground, moaning, with a Viewmaster-clear recollection of every previous hit to the unbroken lineage of pain and woe since toddlerhood.

But I was late to leave on a road trip to hear Dub Apocalypse up in Hartford that night, and then hit the incredible SheltonFest (best beer festival in North American history) on Saturday and Sunday in Worcester, MA. I had a big day ahead of me, but I only wanted to crawl to the nearest couch and whimperingly clutch an ice pack to my swollen skull.

It was the worst one ever. The blow was directly to my left temple, and I felt as if I'd had fifty I.Q. points shaved off. My brain was utterly vacant, and as I packed my things to get going, I was making lots of dumb mistakes. I was a moron. I called one of the friends I'd be hanging out with, and my sentences kept stopping in the middle. Hmm.

Likely concussion, albeit mild.

I certainly didn't want to drive if I was incapacitated. So I figured I'd pack the car, ice down my head, and then try a short local drive to see whether I was road-worthy. And that's when the first miracle happened.

As I was packing my car, a dog I'd never before seen strided up my driveway, as if she'd done so a thousand times. She came straight up to me, and stared, with what could only be interpreted as concern, right in my eye as I pet her. From that moment forward, she hovered protectively. I went back in the house to get another bag, and she stood anxiously at my door, watching my every move. Then she accompanied me back out to the car. She didn't seem to desire anything (I tried giving her a bowl of water, because it was a hot day, but she wouldn't so much as sniff it). I was convinced that she was my fairy dogmother.

I checked her tags, but there was no address. I tried to lure her up the hill to where most of the other houses are, but she kept following me downhilll as I attempted to sneak away, never letting me out of her sight. But I was late, so I slipped quickly into my car and carefully backed down the driveway. She was frantically looking for me, and, eventually, figured out I was driving the car, and followed me, running, as I drove off, for about a half mile. I felt terrible, but, again, I was late, and couldn't devise a more graceful way to ditch the dog. I wasn't, after all, smart.

My driving coordination and reaction time seemed ok, so I proceeded, and, finally, reached Connecticut, where a friend asked whether I'd been hit by a truck (there was a huge knot on the side of my head). I answered him inarticulately. He looked concerned. I pulled my hat over the lump.

The concert was great, and it was time to check into a hotel. The clerk, noticing my confusion, smilingly slowed down and was careful to confirm that I understood everything. I'm not the type of person who's often patiently helped by random strangers. I was deeply touched. The next morning, we all went out for takeout coffee before the beer festival, and I got a little flustered trying to remember which cup was mine. The coffee lady reminded me - twice - and finally placed my cup around my hand* so I wouldn't forget again. Her smile was angelic.

It was at this point that I started looking around the room for some blunt object to swing at my other temple.

I was told that I should have gotten angelic coffee woman's number; she seemed to have taken a liking to me. And over the rest of the day, women seemed strangely drawn to me. I didn't have anything clever to say to any of them; I just smiled goofily. And that seemed to be enough. I'm not handsome (and these days that matters a lot more for guys than it once did) so I usually have to work hard and turn up the charm to get the time of day from women. But now, thanks to a sharp blow to my skull, I was turning heads, ala Brad Pitt. I'd stumbled upon his secret!

The next day, driving a convertible through western Worcester, some Hispanic workers yelled over as I waited at a light, "Hey, man, cool car!" I couldn't think of what to shout back, so I just yelled "Yeah, I cut the top works great!" This wasn't funny, at all. In fact, it was a pretty stupid thing to say. But it was perfect. They chuckled and waved. Life was going smoothly! My life never goes smoothly. I have lots of fun, good laughs, a bunch of nice friends, but I'm not much of a smooth liver. Never have been.

Now it's Monday and my cognitive juju has been returning. Yesterday, I felt as if I was living a reverse "Flowers for Algernon" - bright guy gets stupid, rather than vice versa. But today I'm able to type this all out coherently. Apparently my funcussion is waning. And I'm not sure how happy I am about that.

If you see me walking down the street, would you please do me a favor and slam me squarely in the back of the head with a brick?

* - "placed my cup around my hand"??? I'm leaving in this weirdly dopey construction just to document that I'm still not all here.


TomMeg said...

Wait, you still don't know what hit you? Meteorite?

Jim Leff said...


Just a trip, stagger, and wham against a door frame while getting up from bending over to pick something up. I can't remember real clearly, it's kind of blurry. Which is a shame, because I don't now how to replicate it....

Nick said...

God, Jim, you're one of my favorite food writers. Watch that freaking head of yours, there's good stuff inside it! D:

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