Brain vs. Me

-by Albert Berkshire

Somedays, it's more accurate than the brain wishes to admit.
Somedays, it’s more accurate than the brain wishes to admit.

“Brain?” I asked, “Why must you be so fucking difficult?

There was no measurable response. Seems Brain thought it best to turtle in its moment of study light interrogation.

I persisted.

Why do you ignore the rational? Why do you insist on dragging yourself out of the light and into the spaces that exist on the fringe of positive thought? Why, when you are supplying a perfectly acceptable appreciation of the beauty this world possesses, do you feel the need to surmise the opposite reality?

Why can’t you just enjoy the sunset?

Brain, it seems, likes to play by his own rules. He dances around the necessary, ignores my desires (primarily writing, I might add), and seems to expend enormous computing power creating scenarios that will likely never happen. (Heli-skiing still has a chance, though.)

And then there’s his relationship with my legs and stomach. With Legs, he’s in harmony. They’ll hike for days through mountain passes or hammer out a 100km mountain bike ride together with minimal disagreement. But the moment he reads a menu and sees Eggs Benny – he orders Huevos Rancheros. This, I suspect is to deny me a finish line in my lifelong pursuit of the perfect poached egg. The one that comes from the fabled Swirling Vortex of Poach. The one that Brain refuses to even attempt. Chicken!

Why, Brain, do you go through spurts of social segregation? What is it about going out with friends that you occasionally find so unbearable that you will hang out with the cat and hammer out words on a screen rather than pick up the phone and make plans with the wonderful people in your life? (This, I might add, is a rather rewarding delight until it has to be explained as, “I just wanted to stay home and write.”)

Brain fails to fully appreciate the proven scientific benefits of companionship. (He has also misspelled scientific twice in this piece). His approach is to let someone else be the first to pick up the phone to make plans in the event his invitation is declined. He likes to just be on his own, knowing full well it leads to an overdose of sci-fi movies and a repeat viewing of the IT Crowd. The latter, showcases his inability to admit that chick flicks are high on his list, too. Maybe he’d respond well to a viewing of The Holiday. (It is almost Christmastime.)

But it isn’t just movies where Brain and I disagree. We have battles over music. My gut calls for classic rock. You know, the stuff to which our older brothers listened when we were kids. That music left me forever tainted, except for my appreciation of the once-upon-a-time mentioned Led Zepplin, Jethro Tell, and a more recent appreciation for Muse. And Rod Stewart. The early stuff around the time of Faces. (And why does Brain insist Mona’s “Lean Into The Fall” is so reminiscent of Stewart’s “The Killing of Georgie”) Brain, instead, prefers to write to modern, alternative music. It’s an angst-motivating genre. Great for intense writing moments and a flow of thought. It’s that moment when your fingers are actually keeping pace with your thoughts. (If you’re my neighbour, and your bluetooth speaker system is Hydra, I apologize for the Saint Motel and K. Fray marathon. I didn’t (Brain didn’t) realize we were connected. Rocks, though, doesn’t it?)

And then the moment Brain and I agree on the benefits of him winning the music-selection argument, we suddenly have more questions for each other. Or him. Mostly him.

Brain, I continued, “Why did you suddenly think that pressing the Home button on your iphone would turn off the bidet? More importantly, why did you press it two more times before acknowledging that the controls were on the wall? And why, I shudder to ask, did you instantly wonder if there was an app available to control the bidet? How did you go from “Ha Ha. Silly mistake!” to “Fuck, that would be a killer piece of home automation. I wonder if there is money in that?””

Have I overloaded you? Have I exposed you to too much Facebook, Ello, Twitter, Instagram (surely our four times looking at Instagram together was not overload)? Is the espresso getting to you? Do we need to downgrade to dry cappuccinos? Please don’t say you think decaf is a better option. Do you need more protein? Do you need a break? Do you need an app for that? Would you prefer to shut off more frequently? Or is that what spurs your creativity?

And where does your creativity originate? Your family members (I realize there’s only one brain in my head, but I mean those controlling your relatives. My relatives.) all seem fairly normal. Or are you now suggesting that they’re all as nuts as me (us) and they are just better at hiding it?

And why did talking to the empty chair do so much for you in such a short time? More importantly, why can’t you live the rest of your life in that peaceful moment of reconciliation?

Perhaps, Brain, you just want to be free to run amuck and create whatever streams through your senses. I’d ask you how you’d reconcile that with mortgage payments and grocery purchases, but I’m not entirely certain our better-half would appreciate the cynicism of the explanation.

Or maybe, you just need to find your focus again. Rediscover your passion for storytelling. Embrace your unexpected desires to throw words at a page.

How does that sound, Brain? Have we agreed on a plan that allows us to get back to writing? Or was this your plan all along? To get me into the mindset of one of our new characters?

And Brain? If it was…well done.

Well done, Brain.


Albert Berkshire is a storyteller. When he isn’t writing, he’s usually thinking about writing. Sometimes he’s just fighting with his less-than-motivated brain. Or he could just be getting in the mindset of one of his new character. His first novel of fiction, We Made A Pact, is published by Friesen Press. It is available in hardcover, paperback, and in various e-book formats. You’ll find it at and at  For a much shorter, and less frequent rambling, Albert is found on Twitter @albertberkshire, and anti-socially at