Brain Space

(Sunday Paper, Year IV, Issue 4)

This week my friend (you know him - Kevin) texted me to tell me that there was going to be an American Ninja Warrior video game coming out.

You might remember the girls went through a little American Ninja Warrior craze last year.

Anyway, when I got the text from Kevin my first thought was, ‘Oh man, I don’t even know if the girls will care about that anymore. I don’t know how to tell Kevin.’ (Sorry Kevin.)

But my quick second thought was, ‘What a great idea for a video game. It has great TV show-to-video game transferrability.’ (That is a term I made up but I think everyone will understand.)

And then my quick third thought was, ‘How has it not occurred to me before learning that it happened that American Ninja Warrior would be a great video game?’

And it was the perfect illustration of what I was going to write about this week - because I’m just not sure my brain is working in the same way that it used to.


Here’s the thing - I’m not afraid that I’m losing my mind. (Completely. It is something I worry about quite often but I don’t realistically think I’m close to that.)

But, if I had been watching a show like American Ninja Warrior anywhere from ten-to-fifteen years ago, my first instinct would have been, “This would make a great video game. They should make it a video game.”

Maybe because that was always my mindset. Everything is a video game now - Harry Potter, Spider-Man, Mickey Mouse - on and on.

But when I was growing out of kids’ video games they were just starting to make my TV shows into games - I remember a ‘Duck Tales’ game that was OK and a ‘Rescue Rangers’ game that was a little better. And it took until I was in college for the sports video games to get really good and the way I always wanted them to be.

But this isn’t about video games. I guess it’s about the way I think. Because my first thought when I watched American Ninja Warrior wasn’t ‘This would make a great video game.’ It was more along the lines of, ‘This is a great show to watch as a family.’

Which I guess is the place in my life I’m at right now.

So that’s no surprise.

What is surprising to me is that dates no longer ring the same bell in my head that they used to. That was a big point of pride for me - I would see a date and automatically associate it with someone’s birthday. Twice in the past - let’s say, month - I either needed to be told by someone that it was someone’s birthday or I actually was reminded by Facebook that I should reach out to someone because it was their birthday, and I was disappointed…because I never thought I would need to rely on that feature.

But here we are.

And I have a theory. A couple, actually. The first is that thus begins my slow descent into losing my mind. But I don’t want to pay that theory much attention because I’m hoping that’s not the case.

More likely, I think, is that I’m taxing my brain in different ways.

Instead of getting lost in my own happenings I’m monitoring everything happening for the girls - that’s three sets of schedules and commitments and projects due and appointments and birthday parties. And on top of that I’m doing day-to-day work that’s taxing my brain in ways that it hasn’t been taxed before. I’m keeping closer track of my finances on a day-to-day basis and the work I’m doing isn’t the same as when I was on auto-pilot in the classroom for about a decade. (Not in a bad way - just I was used to what I was doing.) Then there’s comedy - not just knowing what I want to say every time I’m on stage but putting to the front of my mind the joke-writing that I would have in the back of my mind for much of my life.

So, in short, I don’t think I’m losing my memory as much as I fear…I do think I’m just less focused on old details because I have so many new ones to keep track of.

I’m no expert in how the brain works - although I’ve heard that we don’t use it to capacity - but I’m guessing that I’m at my capacity and less-important (or what used to be important) information is being pushed out to make room for the now-more-important.

Or at least this is what I’m choosing to believe in order to convince myself that I’m not losing my mind.

Losing my hearing, on the other hand…


*Well, we’re finally back into the post-holiday routine…and there haven’t been disruptive snow days. So we’ll see how long that continues. Things are going well.


*Managed to make it out in the bitter cold to Sally O’Brien’s on Monday night to work in a couple of new jokes. Small crowd for a holiday. For a short week this week has felt endless - so many obligations, which impacted the nights I would otherwise be trying to get on stage. But I did have a show late Saturday night - too late to work into this summary.

This week I was lucky enough to have signed up for the Wednesday night mic at Terry O’Reilly’s in Newton which, it turns out, is going to be the last one. It’s unfortunate because that mic - a mix of music, comedy, and poetry - is a really wonderful community and I’m happy to be able to perform there one last time and send the show off.

What I’ve Been Enjoying

*You may remember this from last year - I had a new winter coat that lasted barely through the winter. The pocket lining ripped and there was a big hole where the pockets should be and the return went surprisingly easily, but after thinking I had solved my winter jacket needs for the next decade or whatever I was back to square zero. Well, this summer I was walking through the mall with the girls and we saw a big sale at Eddie Bauer and there was a nice jacket at a really reasonable price. But it was thin, and I wasn’t convinced it was a winter jacket but the guy insisted it would withstand a certain threshold of freezing temperatures so I bought it, with a slight bit of skepticism.

I broke out the jacket and wore it through December and the first half of January and it was fine, but I hadn’t tried it in very cold temps….until this week. Last weekend we went to New York - ahead of the storm - and returned to the single digit temperatures on Monday and a snowed-in driveway. (I was prepared to face this - we packed shovels and boots.) I dug the driveway out in the below-freezing cold and the only thing that got cold was my fingers. (I need new gloves.) It was really thrilling to see that the jacket could withstand the temperatures I was told it would. My two biggest winter coat needs are to stay warm while shoveling and to be warm enough waiting for the girls at dismissal, when I’m just standing there. This one is maybe the best winter coat I’ve owned when it comes to those two tests.


*We had a wonderful weekend in New York celebrating my mom’s birthday….I did not have a wonderful Sunday watching football. The Saints dream ended and then the Chiefs lost, meaning we have not only John not winning anything this NFL season, but also that we have a repeat Super Bowl matchup. Oh-for-everything.

*Didn’t draw much attention to it the past few weeks, but perhaps you’ve noticed we’re up to Roman numeral IV in the ol’ Sunday Paper count. Issue 4 of Year IV seems like a good time to point that out.

*As always, I appreciate you reading. If you’re not already ‘Liking’ the page on Facebook or following me on Twitter, you can do that at those links. Thank you.

*And we’re just a couple of weeks away from the second edition of Comedy Night at Exhibit ‘A’. Here’s where you can buy tickets to that. Fun show - musical comedy and a headliner who appeared on late night television over the summer.

*This is exciting - I had a fun little idea for each Sunday Paper in February…and, believe it or not, next Sunday is already the first one in February. So, if you’re like me and you look for little things to grab onto and look forward to so slowly but surely you can make it through the long winter months…I’ll do my part and give you a fun little series each Sunday in February that might help you get by just a little. See you then.