You might have read a Craig Sailor article from The News Tribune about Jason Padgett, the happy-go-lucky man who was beaten in an Alaskan bar and ended up with a concussion that somehow rewired his brain.
Yeah, he went from being a college dropout to a mathematical genius with synesthesia. It’s a neurological condition that allows people to perceive with more than one sense. For Padgett, circular objects are surrounded by straight lines. Raindrops on a puddle become geometric shapes.
It scared him silly. Well, you can just imagine, suddenly seeing the world like it’s a diagram from a geometry book. It would startle anyone. Eventually researchers found that the left side of his brain comes alive when he does mathematical formulas—probably overcompensating for the damage on the right.
If you’re like me, you probably see exactly where this is leading: we’re going to lose our vacation time.
Oh, it’s as plain as the straight lines around a grain of sun-warmed beach sand. Researchers won’t let this go. Soon they’ll learn how to tweak everyone’s brain. Savant status for all! Sounds great until you read the fine print.
I can imagine choosing from different brain-altering packages, much like the packages for kids’ school pictures. I felt guilty settling for an 8×10 and 12 wallets of my kids rather than the retouched 16×20 and four 5×7’s, and I’m going to feel guilty settling for Package D of the genius surgery, too, because people will KNOW.
Presumably, Package D will enable me to mentally calculate what I owe my sisters on a Father’s Day gift that was 33 percent off and a Mother’s Day gift that was “buy two-get one free,” but how, really, does that benefit society?
Whereas if I spring for Package A, it’ll do things to my brain that will have me analyzing cloud patterns well enough to predict rain and snowfall times down to the minute, ensuring that no one ever again will have their backyard BBQ drenched by rain or a Snowflake Festival ruined by a snowstorm that unexpectedly dwindled to a dusting.
Yup, the only way out of it is to give up my vacation fund and pony up for Package A. It’ll be nice being a savant and all, I guess, but deep down I know I’ll be wishing I was soaring through the air on that cool Dumbo ride at Disney.