Wednesday, October 21 2020

flossing, paw patrol liturgy, and shared brain syndrome

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone. If you're here reading this, I'm sending good vibes your way. I hope you're feeling awake and fresh, and if not, I hope you brewed enough coffee to at least fake it this morning. At the very least, we just need to hang on until lunch time, right?

I'm feeling good today. This morning I caught up on chores and straightened up the kitchen. I read for a while. I showered. I'm feeling no less than 100%.

As long as you don't count my teeth. Particularly, my gums are a throbbing, sore, bloody mess. Before rolling into bed last night, I flossed, carefully threading in between each tooth and gum.

"You know that you don't have to thread it between each tooth, right?" said Marissa. "Why don't you just go straight down?"

"Because I have a metal wire behind both my tops and bottoms," I said wincing in pain."

"Right, I do too," said Marissa. "But once you get underneath it, you can just move the floss back and forth, right?"

I shook my head. "I'm special," I said with hate in my voice. "My metal wire is glued to each of my teeth."

Marissa grimaced. I carried on with the bathroom mirror blood show. By the time I reached my bottom molars, the floss string had already snapped twice, and I was working with the longest scrap of string.

The weirdest part of all is that when I woke up this morning, there was no parade. There was no gift card in the mail. My childhood dentist wasn't waiting in front of our house this morning to congratulate me for a floss job well done. It's almost as if flossing is something healthy people do, and not an achievement.

Maybe you all would be more impressed with me if you saw how swollen my gums were right now. You can't. Nobody will today, and that is exactly why quarantine is the perfect time to get on track with the flossing. Growing up, I always hated going to the dentist in the middle of a school day because after the annual flossing, I'd return with big puffy gums that would hang over my teeth like bloody gauze. A few spots in my gum line even reached all the way down to meet the bottom of my teeth. I looked ridiculous.

"You know if you continue flossing, your gums will get healthier, and soon they won't get puffy and inflamed," the dentist said.

Yeah, but they only get puffy when I floss, so I could just not do that too, I thought.

Fast forward to now, everyone is indefinitely grounded in their homes. I have the ultimate, ever-lasting excuse to not go anywhere and not be seen by anyone. I may never have an opportunity like this again. 2020 has been a year of terrible things, so why not add flossing to the mix. Compared to everything else thats happened, walking around my house with a decrepit mouth for a few weeks pales in comparison. So I raise my coffee mug and say onward - let the blood run like a river out of my mouth, and let my gums sing with pain until the gingivitis debt is paid in full.

Sip. We had a good day yesterday. I had a crazy day of work, but all the stress and chaos washed away at quitting time with the help of a happy hour beer, a nap, a delicious dinner from "Chef Rissa", and a focused session of playtime with Rodney.

Rodney re-ignited a passion for Paw Patrol. His old action figures stand proudly on his desk. We dragged the once forgotten Adventure Bay tower out of the basement and restored it to its former glory in the middle of the play room. We have since added the new Mighty Twins play set to his collection.

The Might Twins, as Rodney explained, are twin golden retriever puppies that appear in the Mighty Pups universe of the Paw Patrol. The twins, Ella and Tuck, possess the powers to grow respectively really big and really small. And when they touch noses, they glow for some reason.

Rodney and I took turns animating the action figures. His tolerance for my non-canon nonsense was at an all time low. Each time I attempted to take the story of the rails, Rodney patiently corrected me.

"OK, dada," said Rodney. "Now call an emergency."

Using a tiny Ryder action figure as my personal avatar, I leaned over the tower ledge. "C'mon you puppies! We got work to do!"

"No no no," said Rodney shaking his head. "You say, PAW Patrol... to the lookout!"

We did another take. Rodney made all the pups reply in unison, Ryder needs us! I couldn't help but be impressed with Rodney's strict adherence to the Paw Patrol liturgy.

Playing with him by his rules was the least I could do. Rodney was in top form all day yesterday. He helped Momma rake all the leaves outside. He quickly finished every morsel of food on his plate. He was focused and attentive during his entire piano lesson. We forget about four year olds are real people too. Just like us, they have good days and bad days. They have days where everything seems pointless, and also days where they thrive off expectations.

After putting Rodney to bed, Marissa and I continued the movie of the week and newest edition to the series Movies I Remember as Awesome That Actually Suck.

I don't know what I saw in The Butterfly Effect when it first came out. At the time it felt brooding, intricate, and gritty. Other than the core idea of time travel, the movie is just a hot mess of mixed messages, nonsense story telling, and terrible writing.

As you could imagine, Marissa and I are well versed in bad movies by now. One common smell they all possess is what we refer to as shared brain syndrome. When characters speak to each other in a shared brain scenario, there's no room for normal human things like confusion, shock, being caught off guard, and other genuine human reactions. It's as if the characters share a single brain, and just act as one dimensional puppets of what the script writer is thinking.

In the movie, an accidentally crippled Ashton Kutcher tries to drown himself in the bath tub. His friend enters the bathroom and hurriedly shuts the water off. Having just saved him from death, his friend looks him in the eye and says "You forgot to leave the toaster on the ledge."

Ashton Kutcher, still coughing and spitting water replied, "Lenny likes Pop Tarts."

So not only does his friend interrupt his suicide and make a dumb joke, but Ashton Kutcher, without skipping a beat, also follows it up with a dumb joke. Not even remotely a normal human interaction. Simply stunning, isn't it?

Keep an eye out for shared brain scenario, especially with movies that try to sell themselves as quick and clever. Too often, it just turns into a puppet show where the writer talks to themselves and forgets to make the characters different.

Thanks for stopping by today. Hope you have a wonderful day today.