On Sept. 13, 1848, mild-mannered railroad worker Phineas Gage was involved in a freak accident that nearly cost him his life. If you’ve ever been enrolled in a psychology course or opened up a “Ripley’s Believe It Or Not!” book at a Scholastic Book Fair, you’re probably familiar with this often cited historical case. If you’re not, allow me to show you an illustration:

Poor illustration of a man getting bonked with a railroad spike through his noggin.

Surprisingly, you can’t just walk away from a railroad going straight through your head. Gage emerged with a completely different personality due to the destruction of the frontal lobe of his brain. Scientists of the 19th century were astounded, as this case suggested that different parts of the brain were specialized to specific cognitive functions. Psychology 101 professors for the next century were also excited to talk about trains for one lecture a year.

 

Anyways, here’s how I learned to empathize with Gage.

Aug. 13, 2008: I am at my brother’s 10th laser tag birthday party, snorting a Pixy Stix on a dare.

Aug. 20, 2020: I am receiving my first COVID-19 nasal test in the Goergen Athletic Center.

Aug. 4, 2032: I am attempting to heat a frozen Amy’s samosa burrito by using my powers of particle manipulation to transfer kinetic energy to the frozen mass. I take a bite and it’s still cold in the center.

To the right is a picture of the average human skull.

Medical illustration of human skull, cross section.

I will draw your attention to the nasal cavity and a spongy segment of bone called the ethmoid bone. This segment of bone divides the nasal cavity from the house where the big bean (brain) lives.

I will draw your attention to the nasal cavity and a spongy segment of bone called the ethmoid bone. This segment of bone divides the nasal cavity from the house where the big bean (brain) lives.

Now below is my skull.

Medical illustration of my weird skull, cross section. There is a spider in my brain cavity.

Please observe the near complete absence of the aforementioned bone. Remember the Pixy Stix snort I mentioned before? This anomaly is the result of the artificially flavored sugar dust dissolving my ethmoid bone. It’s definitely not because of anything else I snorted.

Back to the COVID-19 test. What was supposed to be a brief nasal swab evolved into an invasive brain tickle due to my unusual cranial anatomy, scrambling my big beautiful brain like an ostrich egg. I immediately blacked out for 18 hours. I think.

When I came to, I noted that I could now see in 32 additional colors that were previously inaccessible to the human eye. “That’s kind of weird,” I thought.  According to the UHS staff that reported to the scene, my body was blinking in and out of this plane of existence while I was unconscious. Members of the physics department theorized that my accidental trans-nasal lobotomy must have rewritten my entire genetic code, allowing the particles of my body to scatter and reform themselves as they pleased across infinite dimensions. “Oh, wait, that’s kind of cool actually,” I said.

I function in a simultaneous state, straddling the line  between life and death. As my particles flux across space and time, I experience every moment of my life, both past and present, just like the giant naked blue guy from “Watchmen” (Tobias Funke? I forgot his name lol). Sometimes I feel my humanity slipping, and I wonder if getting COVID-19 tested to attend two in-person lectures a week in exchange for fusing my consciousness and physical body with the greater energy of the universe was worth it.

Then I remember I can fly now. So yeah, maybe it was worth it.



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