06/18/2012 10:43 am ET Updated Aug 18, 2012

My Little Pet

Dear Waldo,

Am I going nuts or what? Sometimes I try to focus my brain and it won't focus, or I'll even have a great idea that gets me all excited and ten minutes later I can't even remember it or I'll just be sitting there and something will pop into my head that I have absolutely no clue whatsoever where it came from. But even worse than that is sometimes I get the most horrible, horrible thoughts that I would never in a million years tell anybody. Is this normal or am I headed for the loony bin?


Edna Pfeiffer

Dear Edna,

All I can say is if you're going to the loony bin, reserve a double because I'm going there too. My brain does all of those things yours does. I don't worry, though, because I've come to know that my brain is not really mine. It's just Stuff. It's like a little pet that lives in the kennel of my head. It's a bright little fella, and I feel like I've taught it some pretty good tricks, but the damn thing is always dashing off into the bushes chasing who-knows-what and ending up lost. Sometimes I'll call and call and call and my brain just sits there ignoring me. Other times it appears out of nowhere with the damndest things in its mouth.

And so, Edna, in my opinion it's best to think of your brain as something separate from the rest of you, as an entertaining, unpredictable rascal that you're just stuck with. As you live your life you will be making constant deposits into this brain of yours, but your brain will continue to treat you as if it's in the employ of a superior enemy. It will enjoy taunting you with regrets, and it will bathe paths you have not taken in a golden light, and it will airbrush memories of the past in such a way that your life now may seem dim and without luster. But you must not get suckered in. It's just the little rascal in your head fooling around.

Thank-you for your letter.

Your Fan,

Waldo Mellon