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Stephen Hawkins without the Brain

John W. Pinkerton


The other day I realized that I was becoming Stephen Hawkins…without the brain.

In recent days I've begun to realize that my limbs are beginning to have a will of their own…mainly their will is to not obey me.

Getting up from a chair has become a committee project involving a shift of my torso and the aid of my arms and hands.  Getting out of a car requires several orders from my old brain to convince the legs to even begin to make an effort to exit.

My legs speak up, “Well, you say you wish to exit the car?  Let me talk it over with your butt, your arms, and your hands and see what they think.”

Of course, all of this takes time and the outcome, being a committee decision, seems to occur in a discordant manner with an uncertain outcome.

Recently I managed my first fall.  Of course it was unexpected.  Why did I fall?  Well, all I know is that my traditionally dependable body parts simply tried to get out of the way, and my brain concluded that I had to land somewhere which resulted in an amusing entanglement with half assembled picture frames.  “Apparently” there was no real harm done other than a few scrapes.

I suppose all of this was inevitable; however, my two-year struggle with pleural effusion has hastened it.  After two years and many doctors (an amusing lot), I think we've managed to end this affliction, but the two years robbed me of physical activity and, of course, weakened my old body.  Although I have plans to improve my physical strength, I am somewhat doubtful of a positive outcome…mainly because I killed Will Power years ago and buried him in the backyard.

Almost daily I observe men and women walking by my home.  These folks aren't employing the normal gait which indicates that they'll eventually get where they're going but the gait which indicates they're getting better and better in every way.  They seem a little foolish to me…but that's just me.

If I do choose to exercise, no one, not even I, will take much note of the activity.  I want a functioning body, but I don't want to overdo it.

My brain, bless its heart, still seems to be a fully functioning organ.  I've never been overly concerned with my body as long as it does the things I wish it to do without making too big of a fuss about the assignments.


While lying on the operating table to have my pleural cavity drainage tube removed, it occurred to me that this was not so much the end of an illness…just a pause.  There were other insults to my body waiting at the exit door of the operating room, and, indeed, I was correct: I immediately suffered from bronchitis; the fall from weeks before finally caught up with me with extreme pains in my left shoulder; and, just as a bonus, a blood vessel in my left eye burst…crap.

My body should not be angry with me: after all, I've pretty much ignored its activities for years.

Unfortunately, I'm beginning to understand those little scooters at WalMart.  What a world.