I really think I’m losing my mind, and I have to say, I’m pretty bummed about it, because I’ve always thought that mine has always been a rather exceptional mind, I like using it, and I have no physical prowess whatsoever to fall back on. What this means is that I will soon be a gibbering idiot and fodder for any mountain lion that happens upon me, because when I yell “HELP!” something else entirely, like “Helicopter!” or “Hula-hoop!” will come out of my mouth.
This misspeaking is the chief symptom of my impending cerebral cortex failure. The other day, I said “I didn’t peek.” Well, no, that’s what I MEANT to say. What I actually said was “I didn’t pink.” And then today I tried to say “barely” and instead what came out was “Beverly.” And for a week now, I’ve been calling my dog Athena by her dearly departed elder sister’s name, Peanut; even when the word I hear in my head is “Athena,” somehow, through verbal alchemy beyond my ken, by the time it reaches my lips, it is something else entirely, confounding not only the person I’m speaking to, but surprising me as well. I am frequently saying things I have no intention, nor forewarning, of saying. And it’s really bugging me.
Almost always, there’s a vaguely homophonic relationship between the intended word and the spoken one, and I START saying the right word, but at some point part-way through it, my mouth takes a detour and says something else starting with the same sounds. This implies that my brain may be operating on the same stupid text-suggestion software that my cellphone has. And I hate that sonofabitch. I disable it as soon as I get a new phone, because it’s constantly suggesting things I don’t want; I’d rather type out every word myself than backtrack to get rid of all the wrong words it suggests.
Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I have always had a little problem with this. I’ve always chalked it up to my brain working more quickly than my mouth, which is (or rather, was,) no doubt true, at least in part. My brain is really the only quick, flexible, and agile muscle in my body. The rest of this lemon of a carcass exists primarily, as far as I can tell, to transport my (formerly) brilliant mind, because it is completely worthless for any tests of strength, endurance, or agility, and its hardiness is more like a hardy-har-hardiness. I injure easily and heal slowly.
Did you hear that? That was the sound of the mountain lion stretching, warming up. She’s coming for me.
Anyway, this propensity for misspeaking is why I hate the phone and leaving messages, because there are no other cues for the other person to be able to figure out what I’m on about, and there is no way in a message to edit it once it’s been committed to tape or chip. When I’m talking face-to-face with someone and something bizarrely non-sequiturious pops out of my mouth, I can see the perplexed look on his or her face, can explain myself, and we can have a good laugh. This is fine with people who know and love me because they already know I’m not a complete moron. However, when I’m with new folks, or worse, people I actually care about creating a good impression with, it’s pretty much a disaster. I want a do-over. I want a note from somebody that says “The bearer of this document is actually quite the smart cookie, even though she suffers uncontrollable verbal brain flatulence of the worst kind and may come across as an imbecile. Please bear with her. She’ll probably make it worth your while. Eventually.”
Hell, I’d be glad to write the note myself, because for the most part, this synaptic blowout only seems to happen when I’m talking; when I write, all the words are right there, and they generally show up on the page exactly as I intend them. This is mildly heartening, as it proves that the portions of my brain in charge of remembering and using words have not completely dissolved; however, it makes the fact that they are totally unavailable for use in conversation that much more baffling. It is possible I need a RAM upgrade, but I’m not really sure how to go about that.
Regardless, there is no denying the fact that it’s getting worse, and if it keeps up, I’ll be booking an MRI, if only to ease my rapidly degenerating mind. Add to all this my hearing loss, and it’s really a wonder that I am able to communicate with anyone at all. I can’t hear them, and they can’t understand me. Fantastic! This may just be the result of getting older, and I may have to get used to it. I don’t know if I can, but at least I can take some solace in knowing that I’m not alone.