The husband just informed me of a study that found a mild electrical zap to the brain will give older people the “working memory” of a 20-year-old.
Concerned about his high level of enthusiasm, I calmly said, “The toaster is still plugged in. Why don’t you go first?”
He said he didn’t mean to imply that I needed a jolt to the brain, he just thought it was interesting.
Sure. And I don’t mean to imply we should take a cruise when I leave travel brochures lying around either; I just think they’re interesting.
I conceded that the concept of faster-working memory was intriguing. I also asked him to stop staring at my skull.
I readily admit that he is the one with the better memory for details. A lot of couples are like that. One meticulously dots the i’s and crosses the t’s while the other paints with big, bold brushstrokes and splatters paint on the floor.
The detail man with excellent memory then showed me a picture of a study participant wearing something that looks like a swim cap covered with round plugs and lots of wires. “They say it feels like a tingling sensation or itch for 30 seconds and then the wearer gets used to it,” he explained.
“I get that same feeling when I have my hair done. The shampoo gal gives a great scalp massage. I’d rather have the scalp massage followed by a good haircut than a jolt of current.”
“They say it can help clear brain fog,” he says.
“Sleep can clear brain fog,” I retort. “Or taking a walk outside. No wires necessary.”
“Wouldn’t it be great to have the quick response time of a 20-year-old?” he asked.
There’s no denying the brains of our youth would be enjoyable. Who knows, with better brain speed we could probably do our taxes with lightning speed. We might even be able to play complex video games. I might stop trying to unlock other people’s cars in parking lots. I might even remember what I read. I might even remember what I read.
“It would be something if the brain speed of a 20-year-old would allow me to do back flips again,” I muse out loud.
“They didn’t say it could work miracles,” he chuckles.
One minute he sees possibilities; the next minute he’s Mr. No-Can-Do.
I read up on the research myself and found a side story equally interesting. Or terrifying. People are buying do-it-yourself kits and trying this brain-stimulation business at home. I didn’t say they were sane people, just people.
Meanwhile, a researcher following the do-it-yourself crowd found that given a hypothetical situation, individuals would be more willing to use a brain stimulation device on others before using it on themselves.
Isn’t that the way it always works?
I’m hiding the toaster. Then I’m making a hair appointment.
Lori Borgman is a columnist, author and speaker. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.