Wacky Neighbor

ME: (Tries to work)

MY BRAIN: You know, if Elsa’s parents weren’t such dickweeds, Frozen would have been a much shorter movie.

ME: Mmm-hmm.

MY BRAIN: Here’s an idea: how about leaving her with the trolls so she can learn to control her powers, instead of having the head troll scare the crap out of her and then hand her back to Mr. and Mrs. La-La-La-I-Can’t-Hear-You of 1841.

ME: You’re right.

MY BRAIN: But then there would have been no movie.

ME: It’s sad, isn’t it. (Tries to work)

MY BRAIN: So! Are we in a movie? Is that why bad things happen? Are we entertainment?

ME: ?

MY BRAIN: (I take that back. This is probably a TV show. Looking at you, and this desk, I can’t imagine there’s any budget to speak of.)

ME: What have I told you about getting metaphysical when I’m doing spreadsheets?

MY BRAIN: No, this is important. Because if this is a TV show, then we are stock characters, and you’re the wacky neighbor.

ME: I am not the wacky neighbor. I wave very politely when I see our neighbors. I don’t do the can-can or anything.

MY BRAIN: No, you’re the wacky neighbor of everybody’s life. You amble around being foolish and getting laughs, and nothing really great
happens because it would disrupt your humor patina –

ME: (“Humor patina?”)

MY BRAIN: And you’re never going to be a star, or get fan mail.

ME: There is such a thing as overextending a metaphor.

MY BRAIN: And you’ll never get a spinoff, or if you do it’ll be cancelled. All the stock characters you could have been and you had to choose
wacky neighbor.

ME: Oh, it could be worse.

MY BRAIN: It could not possibly be worse.

ME: Yes it could. I could be the wacky neighbor who goes and checks herself in somewhere because her brain won’t put a sock in it when she’s trying to get her work done.


ME: (Tries to work)

MY BRAIN: … I am totally calling you Rhoda from now on.

ME: That’s fine.

MY BRAIN: Don’t wear that scarf thing, though.

ME: Wouldn’t dream of it.

Slytherin and Cargo Shorts

ME: (Tries to work)

MY BRAIN: You’ve joined Slytherin, I see.

ME: ?

MY BRAIN: The colors. Green polo, and stupid-looking black cargo shorts.

ME: Shut up about my cargo shorts. I only wear them around the house.

MY BRAIN: They’re ridiculous. So how did you get sorted, now that they don’t use the Hat anymore?

ME: … as much as I’m going to regret getting involved in this conversation, I’m going to point out that they did not get rid of the Sorting Hat.

MY BRAIN: Obviously you did not read book 8.

ME: Book 8.


ME: For the love of –

MY BRAIN: Who wants to put on that nasty hat? I’m surprised one of the books wasn’t called HARRY POTTER AND THE UNSTOPPABLE LICE EPIDEMIC. Anyway, I like that you have options now. The Sorting Spat, that’s probably my favorite.

ME: And the regrets keep building…

MY BRAIN: Choose a portrait and pick a fight with it until gets so irritated it sorts you into a house just to get rid of you. If you’re more into familiars, there’s The Sorting Rat, where Scabbers’ zombified corpse runs across a wooden board with the school colors on it. Where it drops its undead rat shit, that’s your house.

ME: (Undead rat shit?)

MY BRAIN: That one’s kind of a threefer because it’s also the Sorting Scat and the Sorting Splat.

ME: You really terrify me sometimes.

MY BRAIN: Wait, you know what? I think my favorite one is The Sorting Twat. You are approached by a random presidential candidate —



ME: (Tries to work)

MY BRAIN: Tell you what. I’ll be in Ravenclaw and you can be in Hufflepuff. Huffleclaw. Ravenpuff.

ME: That would make my colors sky blue and yellow. I’ll look like a Teletubby on acid.

MY BRAIN: Beats those cargo shorts.

Raised White

ME: (Tries to work)

MY BRAIN: What does that even mean, “raised white”?

ME: Oh no.

MY BRAIN: I’m imagining Barack Obama, abandoned on an old Lawrence Welk Show set.

ME: Please don’t.

MY BRAIN: Feral Campbell’s Soup children bring him crusts of Wonder Bread and the occasional Spam sandwich. Audio tracks from old 1950s short films on how to behave properly
float eerily through the air.

ME: Do you realize how much work I have to do?

MY BRAIN: He learns to read by finding old copies of Reader’s Digest. Calculating the nutritional values found on the back of mayonnaise jars teaches him math.

ME: Stop now.

MY BRAIN: His first word? “Velveeta”.

ME: …

Conversationed in February after Ben Carson said that Barack Obama was “raised white”.

SCOTUS Imperius

ME: (Tries to work)

MY BRAIN: So Clarence Thomas spoke in court today.

ME: Yes, that’s right.

MY BRAIN: And Antonin Scalia is dead.

ME: A little over two weeks now, I think.

MY BRAIN: Well, then it’s very clear what happened.

ME: Happened? I don’t think those two events –

MY BRAIN: It’s obvious: the Imperius Curse is wearing off.

ME: ??

MY BRAIN: Look, just think about it for five seconds. The robes. The lack of technology in the chambers. The endless incomprehensible Latin… they’re wizards.

ME: Have you forgotten the difference between fiction and nonfiction again?

MY BRAIN: Thank goodness the books weren’t placed in the US. “Harry Potter and the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals” would be a hell of a read.

ME: Now you’re just getting silly.

MY BRAIN: … Harry frees Dobby with a skinny tie and a copy of THE ECONOMIC STRUCTURE OF TORT LAW…

ME: Oh, shut up.

(Though I have let the site lag, my brain and I are still talking on my Facebook page, so I’m catching up. This post, as you might imagine, is from February.)

Hermione’s Hypocrisy Problem

ME: (Tries to work)

MY BRAIN: I’m writing fan fiction again.

ME: That’s nice.

MY BRAIN: Yeah, I’m fixing Hermione’s hypocrisy problem.

ME: I didn’t know she had a —

MY BRAIN: Oh, come on. Enraged over the slavery of house elves, and yet routinely engages in animal abuse during Transfiguration class.. Do not tell me that turning owls into opera glasses doesn’t involve a certain amount of pain and suffering.

ME: Um…

MY BRAIN: If JK Rowling wants her to be an activist, she should at least be a CONSISTENT activist.

ME: You know, for once in your life you might have a point.

MY BRAIN: So in my version she starts PETA –

ME: There’s already a group called –

MY BRAIN: – People for the Ethical Transfiguration of Animals –

ME: Ah. Carry on.

MY BRAIN: And she engages in a constant vandalism campaign against Professor McGonnagall which culminates in fifth year when Hermione breaks
into her office and sets all the mice free. Unfortunately she can’t keep them in her room in the Gryffindor tower so they end up getting eaten by Mrs. Norris.

ME: That kind of sucks.

MY BRAIN: I said I was fixing it, I didn’t say I was making it NICE. Anyway, at the end of the seventh book, when Voldemort rules the world…

ME: Wait a minute. That’s not how it ends.

MY BRAIN: That’s the way it ends when Hermione won’t let Neville kill a snake.

ME: …

MY BRAIN: Dark. But ethical!


ME: (Tries to work)

MY BRAIN: People have souls.

ME: Um, yes, that is a belief.

MY BRAIN: Animals have souls.

ME: That is another belief.

MY BRAIN: Do atoms have souls?

ME: I have no idea.

MY BRAIN: But we’re made of atoms. Do atoms have souls?

ME: Souls might be a bit larger.

MY BRAIN: If you can describe a soul’s size as being larger or smaller then you’re implying it has mass.
What are souls made of?

ME: I am the wrong person with whom you should have this conversation.

MY BRAIN: If souls have mass, are they made of atoms?

ME: You’re trolling me, aren’t you.

MY BRAIN: And if they’re made of atoms, do those atoms have souls?

ME: …

MY BRAIN: Are we theologically recursive? Is that why we’re so screwed up?

ME: Why do you always do this to me when I’m trying to assess pricing algorithms?

MY BRAIN: I don’t want you to get bored.

Crystal Light

ME: (Tries to work)

MY BRAIN: I am suffering a crisis of faith.

ME: ?

MY BRAIN: I feel just like I am lost metaphysically. I don’t know where to turn.

ME: What happened?

MY BRAIN: I believed in Crystal Light… and it DIDN’T BELIEVE IN ME!

ME: Um…

MY BRAIN: It always seemed like a very sensible, self-reliant ontology, you know?

ME: Why the HELL do I let you watch television?

MY BRAIN: I believe in myself, therefore I believe in Crystal Light. It was never a stated quid pro quo,
but why not? And I did my part.

ME: I’m scared to ask.

MY BRAIN: I told people about the power of Crystal Light. I would testify about its flavors. I didn’t feel comfortable going door to door but I was always ready to share the good news that town water did not have to taste like town water.

ME: I’ll give you that one.

MY BRAIN: And I finally reached the end of my rope. I was so tired. And I took out a little packet and I just poured out my feelings. I asked for guidance, love, and faith. And do you know what? It just SAT there.

ME: …

MY BRAIN: It just sat there in its smug fruit punchness and said nothing. NOTHING. Where is the help? Where is the support? Where is the love?

ME: You know, I think you’re looking at this the wrong way.

MY BRAIN: I’m thinking of becoming a Splenda-atheist. What?

ME: It didn’t say anything… because it has faith in you.

MY BRAIN: … what?

ME: It believes in you so much that it’s not doing anything. It has faith that you can fix it by yourself.


ME: See?


ME: That’s great. So can we get back to work now?

MY BRAIN: First, I want to sing a hymn.

ME: A hymn?

MY BRAIN: Aspartame faith, how sweet and low calorie, that saved a wretch like meeeeeee…

ME: Okay, NOW you can shut up.


ME: (Tries to work)

MY BRAIN: We are all holy wine in different vessels.

ME: ?

MY BRAIN: That’s right.

ME: Wow. That’s very… um…

MY BRAIN: I am Welch’s 100% grape in a Flintstones glass.

ME: …

MY BRAIN: Not even a good glass either.

ME: You had this lovely thought, and then you –

MY BRAIN: Pretty sure I’m BamBam.

Sympathy Orchestras

ME: (Tries to work)

MY BRAIN: The world needs more Sympathy Orchestras.

ME: Um, I think you mean Symphony.

MY BRAIN: Just imagine, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony 6 3/4 in B Minor – “Really Pathetique.”

ME: ?

MY BRAIN: You could do a whole season around “Baroque – And We Can’t Fix It.”

ME: Do you have ANY IDEA how much e-mail we have to get through?

MY BRAIN: Suddenly, a bloodless coup in the string section. They are all playing the world’s tiniest violins!

ME: I need to stop feeding you animal protein.

MY BRAIN: It is too late. They have become sarcastic and insidious.

ME: And they start playing… ?

MY BRAIN: Copland’s Fanfare for the Caustic Man.

ME: Of course they do.

Leveling Up

ME: (Tries to work)

MY BRAIN: So how many experience points do you think I have to go?

ME: ?

MY BRAIN: Before I level up.

ME: Level up?

MY BRAIN: I figure I’m multiclass, you know? Like a Chaotic Neutral Ranger/Geek/Pallet Jack Operator. It’ll take me a little longer to get those levels, but in time I’ll be able to — oh, I dunno, shoot two arrows at a time and enchant lifting forks.

ME: Did you start playing mutant D&D when I wasn’t looking?

MY BRAIN: I have decided that real world no longer allows actual accomplishments, so I’m focusing on
leveling up. Oh, and badges.

ME: Badges.

MY BRAIN: Yesterday I unlocked the Courteous Under Trying Circumstances badge, but as you may have noticed I also unlocked the Creative Swearing badge. And they kind of cancelled each other out.

ME: Who, exactly, is awarding you these badges?

MY BRAIN: Idsquare.

ME: Oh, of course.

MY BRAIN: Every five seconds the super-ego checks in with the id about what state I’m currently in, and depending on where I check in and how long I stay I get badges.

ME: So if you’re polite to a wrong phone number –

MY BRAIN: Badge.

ME: And you don’t take the last bottle of Inko’s when it’s on sale –

MY BRAIN: Badge.

ME: And you figure out how to restack a pallet so it doesn’t fall over –

MY BRAIN: Experience points, duh. Don’t go mixing up my value systems.

ME: You do realize that merely providing a little more of the social axle grease that makes our culture spin properly doesn’t, in the long term, make for a very fulfilling life.

MY BRAIN: No, I got that figured out. The first badge I earned was the Satisfaction with Shallow, Meaningless Achievements badge.

ME: …

MY BRAIN: I had to win 25 levels of Candy Crush and arrange the refrigerator door condiments into a meaningful pattern. It’s more difficult than you’d think.

ME: So now with the wide world before you, you’re going to settle for that.

MY BRAIN: And be happy! Isn’t it great? It’s like a little sustaining biosphere of self actualization.

ME: I’m not sure I think —

MY BRAIN: Wait a minute. It’d be a little sustaining biosphere of NON-self actualization, wouldn’t it? Still, it’s sustaining. I expect there are trees and carbon dioxide and things.

ME: I’m not sure I think that this is a viable long-term strategy.

MY BRAIN: And already this morning I’ve earned the Keeping You From Work Badge.

ME: What?

MY BRAIN: Just a couple more messed-up spreadsheets and misheard lyrics and I’ll be crowned Mayor Of Getting On Your Last Nerve. Do you have mayoral perks?

ME: I’m not going to reward you for keeping me from getting work done!

MY BRAIN: You’re just asking for a one-star review on Ego Yelp.