How the Brain Works

John has a very unusual extended family, and I mean that in the best possible way.  We have a family reunion every Labor Day weekend that includes 4 generations of the family, and it is always very well attended with 50–60 people who come EVERY year.  We also get together for a family dinner every Christmas.  The one concession we have made to the growing family’s busy schedule is to move the Christmas potluck and gift exchange to the spring, but it is also very well attended when we don’t have March blizzards like the ones that prevented us from going last year and this past weekend.  These two events are a big reason that we have such a close relationship not only with his cousins, but his cousins’ children and grandchildren.  I don’t know anyone who is so connected to family members who are that far removed from their parents and siblings.  My children know their second and third cousins better than many people know their first cousins.

In addition to the “large group” gatherings, we also go camping with some of John’s cousins several times a year.  Memorial Day and 4th of July have become “small group” traditions that are almost as special as the Labor Day weekend to those of us who attend.  We camp at different lakes around the state and enjoy food and friendship along with swimming, fishing, and other outdoor activities.  We were at one of these camping weekends several years ago when John shared with everyone exactly how his brain works.  He and his cousin, Lynn, were discussing some controversial topic in the news, but I can’t begin to recall the specific issue.  However, I clearly remember that as the conversation progressed and they discussed both sides of the issue, they came to the conclusion that they were in opposition to the view held by the majority of people.  John summarized their position by stating, “I guess our brains don’t work like most people’s.”  This met with some momentary agreement from the group, and the comment would have faded into obscurity if he hadn’t followed up moments later with a completely different observation.  As it turned out, it will live on forever as a part of family history.

Just moments after making his “brain” comment, he shared his recent activity at a local car wash.  I think the incident came to mind because he was wearing sandals and just happened to look down at his feet.  He told everyone that he washed his pickup a few days earlier while wearing the same pair of sandals.  When he finished, he noticed that his feet were quite dirty so he decided to use the power washer to clean up.  He informed the group that they might want to avoid this method of personal hygiene because the highly pressurized water from the nozzle, “almost ripped the toenail off my big toe.”  Without missing a beat, Lynn’s husband, Dave, said, “You’re right John.  Your brains don’t work like most people’s.”

Although the line is used primarily with John, over the years other family members who did things that can be characterized as less than brilliant have heard the explanation of how the brain works.

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