Wednesday, March 07, 2007

CORTEX KINKS -- For What It's Worth

Our human brains all look pretty much alike as you can see here.

While this picture is a view of the brain interior allowing us to see many of the critical inside parts. What we do not see are all the many neural connections (neurons, synapses, dendrites) that enable function. My purpose for showing the picture of the brain here is simply to make note of the fact that the ordinary cortex or brain has wrinkles. You can see some of the same wrinkles in this picture of the whole cortex here.

My point is that this post may actually be an example of what I produce when I get "kinks in my cortex." In fact, anything that seems unusual to me in terms of my so-called "normal" way of functioning, whether in actions, or in my spoken or written words, I characterize as being due to the fact I have developed a sudden "cortex kink," since wrinkles are already generously present. But then, so are these "cortex kinks," since we all have times, sooner or later, when we wonder why we feel the way we do, or why we said or did something so completely out of our character.

I consider I have a "cortex kink" when my state of mind finds me feeling discouraged, depressed, or all those other euphanisms and cliches we use when we say, "I'm having a bad day," "It's a blue Monday," "I'm in a funk," "I'm feeling down," "I'm dragging," along with a multitude of other sayings, I'm sure. When I have those kinds of feelings, I come up with cute quick little comments to others for brushing off my "droopy" disposition, usually with a smart sharp upbeat tone of voice, even with a smile on my face which most see, that quite belies my actual emotional state. I always liked that Broadway musical show business song Ethel Merman belted out many years ago with lyrics including these:

"There{'re}'s no people like show people ... they smile when they are blue..."

You see, I tend to believe that if I act how I want to feel, that I'll begin to feel as I'm actually behaving. And, you know what? Quite often that actually happens.

On the other hand, I've also found that sometimes I need to go to the depths of how badly I'm feeling, just kinda wallow around in the muck for awhile; let all those insecurities, anxious feelings have their way with me, then somehow I find myself letting go of all that.

Subjecting others in depth to all that mess, here, as I'm doing a bit superficially without revealing specifics, can only occur for me with a very select few others, but ideally not too frequently. A friend and I generally have very positive interesting interactions and conversations. There was a period when we thought our lives had gotten into such unabated turmoil we found our conversations becoming increasingly negative. We determined we had to establish timelines and guidelines before "unloading" -- one absolute was that one of us had be in a relatively "up mood" or the other couldn't "dump." I recall our needing to change the topic only once, when I said, "I can't handle any more right now." I don't think she ever had to do that with me, which, of course, could bring up another whole set of questions, about whether or not I was lacking as a support person, or if, in fact, I had more with which to cope than she did, but I'm not going to go there.

Well, anyway, anyone else reading this will get the idea that from time to time if they visit this blog they may encounter posts I've written while having experienced or experiencing a "cortex kink." Not all such "kinks" are negative. In fact, remember, anything judged to be outside the ordinary behavior of an individual, might well be considered as such a "kink."

For example, I'm inclined to think the occasion many years ago when I spontaneously answered a business phone with a flippant "What's up, Doc?" was caused by a "cortex kink." Fortunately the business executive caller who I did not know, thought it was ha-ha funny and I did not even have to apologize for my lack of good behavior, though I did. Who knows, maybe he needed a tension release, as I clearly did.

Then, there was that reckless time ... but I'm sure others must have "cortex kinks," too, that perhaps can be appreciated in a different light. Thoughts of them may elicit laughter, fond happy memories, nostalgic rememberances, a deliberate avoidance of remembering, or relief the time is past.


  1. I admire the way that you and your friend set guidelines. At a time in my life when I was unhappy, I had a friend (the mother of my children's playmates) who was supremely unhappy in her marriage and life in general. I didn't realize how much she was dragging me down until one of my kids referred to her as the psychic vampire. She really was. She, with her unending negativity, pulled me down into her mire, and I didn't even realize that after an afternoon with her, I was depressed, grouchy and downright mean to those around me. After I moved out of her neighborhood, we lost touch, and my family thought it was all for the best. They say my attitude changed almost instantly.

    I laughed at the way you answered the phone. Once, on a business trip with mr. kenju, he left the hotel room to go to a meeting. The phone rang shortly thereafter, and thinking it was him, I answered "YO" (totally out of character for me - hence the brain kink). It was NOT mr. kenju, but one of his colleagues (whom I did not know). I was embarrassed!


    If you were to ask a couple of my children, they'd say I was one BIG Cortex Kink....with love and humor, of course.

    I too have a very close friend for many years who has been around for both the good and the bad. The last few years have seen very little good come her way and it has been a difficult journey along side of her. Now, I've had my blue moments to be sure...especially over the past two 1/2 years or so. We, and in particular I, have had to draw some guidelines in order to have our conversations NOT turn into complete "downers." I've learned to listen and share what feels right, and to let go of what doesn't...not only on her end of it, but on mine. It's just not healthy to wallow in a negative and depressing state. I think we both understand that...and it really isn't in either one of our make-up.

    So now I know when I'm a little down, or grouchy, or testy, or a little nuttier than usual...I'm having a Cortex Kink. I like how you describe it....thanks Joared.

  3. Thinking of answering the phone:

    My husband was out of town. He had called me the night before our wedding anniversary so when the phone rang the next morning at 8am I just KNEW it was him calling so I answered the phone

    "I love you"

    It was a friend and business associate of my husband...who never let me live it down ;)

  4. He he! A new expression for this non native speaker blogger. I love the idea of saying, sorry, I just had a cortex king ;)
    Thanks Joared. You made my day!

  5. Really? a cortex "kink"? Perhaps that's what all of our great blues singers/composers such as Willie Dixon, Albert Collins and B.B.King had to produce those great story telling songs.

    I've had the blues the past Monday and Tuesday over health issues. Felt as if my body parts were breaking down. What do I do for the blues? Exercise. The elliptical trainer is my aerobic activity of choice. Weight training is also a favorite form of exercise but I've had to defer that exercise until my nose heals from skin cancer surgery.

    I stay clear of those people who always seem to have an abundance of problems and most of them serious. I had a sister-in-law who was like that. After spending an hour or so in conversation with her I felt drained of energy.

    This post was very well done. I like your use of links. A very effective use of this technology.

  6. We really can be effected by the emotional states of others as you, Kenju, Joy, and Bob describe.

    I agree, Bob, that exercise and activity can be a boon for what ails us sometimes. Hope your nose is soon healed enough you can resume your exercising. Blog visiting is a good activity in the meantime. I wonder if our generation might have exposed ourselves to a bit too much sun, not knowing what's been learned since? ;-)

    Neurologists likely would cringe at this mental "kink" construct of mine -- nothing at all scientific. Glad you appreciated that fact, Claude. How do you say "cortex kinks" in French??? ;-)

    Bob, that's an interesting idea about the great blues singers -- never thought of that.

    Chancy and Kenju, glad to know I'm not the only one who has these kinks with phone use. We should all try Chancy's kink and see what happens! ;-)

  7. You got me thinking with the cortex kink:
    Synapse gap
    Neuron Gnarl
    electron mis-fire
    You may have started an entire new list of expreesions!

  8. lisa: Hey, I like the terms you suggest. How about:
    Dendrite Drag, Drift or Drop

    This could go somewhere and each term could actually represent slightly different "kinks" -- or not! Anyway, it's fun and thanks for your additions.