Stupid Brain

Dear Brain,

Sometimes you make me mad. You trick me. Play jokes on me. You lie to me. But, I cannot live without you.


The other day, Fireball was demanding liquid sustenance. Lacking the necessary biological accoutrement to satisfy her needs, I undertook to assemble a bottle. We have these bottles designed to minimize the amount of air Fireball ingests. They work well and the baby likes them, but assembly requires five different parts. One of these parts is a long funnel-shaped object.

Being in a rush, I first looked for bottle bits in the drying rack we have near the sink. I immediately noticed and grabbed four of the five pieces, but not the aforementioned “funnel-y” thing. This was a bit odd, as we usually clean all the elements of a used bottle at once, which usually means the various pieces are on the rack or in the cupboard in their appropriate stoichiometric ratios.

Seeing as the drying rack was slightly crowded, I considered that I might have just missed it. I changed my angle of viewing as represented in Figure 2. Now, you may see the correctly sized “funnel-y” thing, but I did not. In my haste and stress (the plaintive cries of one’s infant progeny do that to you), I literally did not see it*. I looked three times and did not see it. In the end, I just grabbed a spare out of the cupboard. When I came back, in a calmer state of mind, to clean the now sullied bottle, I saw that the missing “funnel-y” thing was sitting right in the middle of the rack.

My error may have been due to stress, but the fact that I had provisionally concluded that the object was not there probably contributed. Regardless of the cause, my brain lied to me, which, when you think about it, the fact that it can lie to me is pretty cool. Unless it is lying about that too.

*Okay, technically, my eyes received the reflected light from the object, but the information was never processed in a way that my conscious mind was aware of seeing it.

Author: Josh Witten

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