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A friend of mine recently emailed me a series of games that she thought I might find interesting and fun. These games were not not actually designed for entertainment, although they all claimed to be tons of fun, they were meant to test and exercise the brain, which, evidently, my friend believed I might find beneficial. Not so much. Mostly, I found them completely soul destroying.
Each of the games began with some kind of supposed test that would establish a base line brain age or IQ for the player. Based upon the results, the game lets you know in what areas you excel and also, those upon which you ought to be concentrating because you are weak. This method is supposed to help the individual exercise their brain to become better...stronger...smarter. After taking the tests I was forced to conclude that I am so hopelessly stupid that it might be best if I just found a nice, comfy rock and lived under it.
First of all, the brain age tests seemed to indicate that I was oddly schizophrenic. One test concluded that I had a brain age of 83. I found that a little horrifying until the next test assured me that my brain age was 13, which I found even more horrifying. My brain age test scores covered a rather large scale of ages. One said that my brain age was 47, another told me I had a 35 year old brain, and another was convinced that my brain age was 19. Whatever age my brain is, it was confused. Obviously, my brain was found wandering the streets like a stray cat and no one was able to determine how old it is.
Since my brain appeared to be unclear as to how old it was, I finally gave up on the brain age tests.
I moved on to the IQ tests. In my experience IQ tests tend to favor left brain people, of which I am decidedly not one. Left brain people are good with numbers and math and the really good ones can calculate things like string theory, the behavior of objects in space, and what 8% of 265,342,876 is in their heads. So not me. I'm good with spacial concepts and I'm not totally incompetent at math, but my left brain is definitely not able to keep up with my right brain in a foot race. In fact, I doubt if my left brain can even get to its feet. Mostly it just crawls along on all fours. It seems to me that IQ tests generally assume that real smarts go along with a highly functioning left brain, and they may be right. When I have taken IQ tests my right brain is always pretty relaxed while my left brain is heaving and gasping for air. So, while my right brain is lying in the sun on a beach somewhere sipping icy fruit drinks with little umbrellas in them, my left brain is running a marathon while hopping on one foot across a barren desert with a 50 lb pack on its back. Not fun.
The IQ tests were as inconclusive as the brain age tests. According to the results I was either a candidate for Mensa or a knuckle dragging troglodyte. Frankly, since I really couldn't imagine that Mensa would be holding a space for me at the next genius conference, I found myself leaning more towards the possibility that I was a knuckle dragging troglodyte. I'm pretty sure that there is a booth waiting for me at the next village idiots convention.
According to the tests I really needed to work on my left brain, In fact, my scores seemed to indicate that it was entirely possible that I didn't actually have one and that there was just a lot of empty space where my left brain ought to be, which would explain a lot. The tests also seemed to indicate that I had either a great memory or one that was barely functioning, depending upon which results I chose to accept as accurate. I may have confused them a bit since I can remember the complete line of Plantagenet kings but not which day I washed my hair last week. I like to think of it as being not so much poor memory skills as much as selective memory skills. It makes me feel better.
I decided to work on my pathetic left brain by doing some of the “fun” exercises they recommended. After about an hour of running my brain through the gauntlet of tormenting joyous fun they felt I ought to be having, I realized that while my right brain was taking a nap, my left brain was threatening to beat me over the head with my own poorly functioning synapses, so I called it a day. Let's face it, you can only poke a poor dumb beast with a stick so long before it gets grumpy and mean. Don't get me wrong, I really hate having a dumb left brain and I do make concerted efforts to get it into better shape, but there is a limit to how much time I can spend taking a cattle prod to a couch potato brain before I become exhausted from the effort and feel like just hopping over to my right brain while it is naps and giving it a swift kick.
I have promised myself that I will keep working on my brain. Maybe it will work and maybe not, but it can't hurt in the long run. No pain – no gain, right? In the meantime I'll just keep checking in the mail for that invitation to the village idiots convention.
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