iLost Without iWife

I’ve read that the president plans to put the full weight of the executive branch behind an idea whose time has finally come: a long, in-depth study of the human brain.

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Published March 2, 2013 5:00 AM
4 min read

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Toms iWife thumbI’ve read that the president plans to put the full weight of the executive branch behind an idea whose time has finally come: a long, in-depth study of the human brain.

 

By Tom McDermott    

 

Toms iWifeI’ve read that the president plans to put the full weight of the executive branch behind an idea whose time has finally come: a long, in-depth study of the human brain.

 

We’re not talking about Freud, Jung, or Helen Gurley Brown-type speculative thinking here, we’re talking about really knowing the truth about what makes us tick and, by extension, what we could do to make us start ticking better, or, I guess, worse, which is a hard concept to grasp.

 

The whole thing has shades of Elsa Lancaster in “Bride of Frankenstein.”

 

I, for one, am not sure I want to know the truth about my brain. Why start now? I have Google’s search brain, Wikipedia, and Google Maps at my fingertips; I tend to use my own brain for little things like figuring out why college tuition is so expensive and parsing the Affordable (sic) Care Act.

 

Let me give you an example of what I’m talking about.

 

I recently attended a funeral, arriving a half-hour before it began, since I failed to closely check the information sent to me. So, I decided to use the time to catch up on my texts and emails, while waiting in my Jeep in the New Rochelle parking lot.

 

But I could not find my iPhone. Must have left it in the office, I thought, but later it was not there either. So, I emailed my wife, Becky (also known here as Darling Girl or D.G.), in a mild panic from my laptop to see if I’d left the phone at home; I had not.

 

Now, the human brain can conjure up some real and imagined scary things, but leaving home without your phone these days is one of the Big Boogies. Managing in our new mobile global world without a phone makes us feel useless, like a lamp with no bulb.

 

Somehow (landline, laptop, dictionary, atlas) I made it through the day. That evening, I began an intense search at home: in my upstairs office, downstairs studio, and bedroom, all the while interrogating DG about the places where she had not yet found it.

 

I had her call my iPhone a few times as I roamed the house listening for a buzz or ring. The result was iSilence.

 

“It’s probably in the Jeep,” she calmly said. So, I looked there with a flashlight, twice, front and back, under the seats and my SF Giants batting helmet. No iPhone. iPhone gone. Life as I’d known it had ceased. iPhone lost/dead as a doornail. I was paralyzed with fear and commenced looking in all the same spaces again.

 

“It’s in the jeep,” said DG with total serenity upon my return to HQ, while she pan-fried the tuna and tossed the arugula for supper, while also managing to talk a client out of committing hari-kari over the wrong shade of white on her newly-painted living room wall.

 

Then, I remembered iCloud, another kind of digital brain, which came with a Find My Phone app. So, I went to my iPad, put in my Apple ID six times without luck. As usual, it worked on the seventh try (don’t iAsk). Sure enough, it showed two small green dots at my home address: the iPad and my iPhone!

 

Although iCloud had located the phone, there was no brainy Siri-voice to say, “The phone is under the white chair by the fireplace,” or “The phone is on the shelf in the coat closet, where you left it while grabbing your gloves.” It just showed the two green spots.

 

“One spot looks like it’s in the house, the other looks like it’s nearby, but outside. Like maybe in the jeep,” my wife said.

 

By now, any reader who has been married or in a serious relationship for a while will understand that finding my phone had become less important to me than finding it anywhere but in that jeep. Actually, and here’s a hint about why I’m not so keen on this scientific brain project, losing the phone forever, and having to pay to replace it, was beginning to seem like a more acceptable outcome than finding it in a certain four-wheel drive vehicle, AKA, the Jeep.

 

But, there I was, slowly walking down the path outside our home to the stairway that led to the garage, dressed in dark clothing and wearing a watch cap with a flashlight in one hand to light the ground before me, and my iPad in the other to keep track of the green dots. I was praying that the neighbors would not see me and ask what I was up to or call the police to report an alien in their garden.

 

As I approached the stairway, I pressed the Find My Phone button that would cause my lost device to emit a sound. And, miraculously, I thought I could hear a faint beeping. At the bottom of the stairs it was getting a little louder. Slight right turn towards our garage, louder still. Open this red door. Really loud now. Gotchya!

 

In the red Jeep.

 

You want to know about the human brain? In the hundred-foot walk back to the house, I began to analyze all the possible ways to explain why I knew the phone had been there all along.

 

Instead, I just said, “It was in the jeep.”

 

“I know,” a voice said, “Have some tuna, it’s delicious.”

 

Why mess with the brain. Scientists might learn a whole lot more about how things really get done or not done by studying marriage more closely. Marriage is still a killer app in more ways than one.

 

But, I don’t think I want to know the whole truth about that either.

 

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