Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Brain cells



The average adult brain as about 100 billion brain cells. We kill off about 10 billion of them over the course of a lifetime. That leaves about 90 billion to mess around with.

I like those odds.

I also read where it only takes one brain cell to recognize someone's face. In my case it takes another 5 billion to remember their name (this includes my own name at times). I have one of those brains that remembers tons of trivial facts, but blocks out crucial information like remembering to wear pants.

It was just that once and there were mitigating circumstances.

Odds are that one line about me forgetting to wear pants will be one of the few things any of you will remember about this post. Many of you are nothing if not predictable.

I've always been fascinated by the brain. I mean, here's this mass of wrinkly stuff that looks a blob of something you'd cough up yet it controls your entire body and thinks about all kinds of crap at the same time. That's pretty amazing.

And memory is pretty amazing, too. All of those neuron paths that the brain uses to store things like a squirrel hoarding nuts. And then it goes back to find them and sometimes discovers other things more interesting like the time your First Grade teacher took your class into another teacher's room to watch a movie and the kid next you was talking. And when the teacher of the other class asks who is talking your teacher points out the kid next to you, the other teacher thinks your teacher is pointing at you and you get whacked on the back of the head by the other teacher. And then your teacher laughs because she knows you never do anything wrong and now you've been wrongly punished.

Yes memory is pretty amazing. But I (and my brain) digress.

Sometimes I think my brain finds memories much in the same way Hansel and Gretel tried to find their way back home by leaving a trail of bread crumbs. The older I get, the more bread crumbs are eaten by birds and the harder it is to find my way home.

But all told, I have a pretty decent memory. I just hope that my brain is one of the last things to go (well second to last things) as I check off the parts of me that don't work as well as I age.

What was I talking about?
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