Thursday, January 12, 2012

Living without a Head

The other day I heard a news report that said we start losing our memory cells somewhere around age 45, much younger than previously thought.  That explains why we can’t remember where we put our car keys or what we came into the room to get.
At first, this news worried me. After all, I’ve been through “chemo brain,” I take a drug to prevent cancer recurrence that can cause some short term memory problems, and now they’re telling me that I’ve already been losing brain cells for about a decade.  I looked around at the pile of projects sitting here waiting for my attention and wondered how I’m supposed to get all these things organized and completed when obviously I’m operating with half a head or less. Then I remembered Olga Hess.
I first heard about Olga Hess when I was doing research on the 1939 New York World’s Fair.  Olga was one of the “scientific exhibits” they found space for in the Amusement Area of the Fair. As the story goes, Miss Hess lost her head in a tragic train wreck in Switzerland in 1937 at about age 20 and “only the use of a robot brain and constant medical attention” preserved her life.  She was apparently quite famous back in those days, known as “The Headless Woman” of two continents. I admit I chuckled at this absurd exhibit when I read about it, and eventually forgot about Olga.
Then last summer I was strolling the boardwalk at Coney Island and what should appear right in front of my eyes but a billboard advertising Olga Hess, “The Headless Woman.” I had to see for myself and I’m happy to report that she looked amazing; you’d never be able to tell from her body that she is around 90 years old now. Of course, not having a head she doesn’t have to worry about gray hair or wrinkles.
So I’m thinking if Olga could live to be 90 and have such a long and illustrious career without any head, I have no excuse not to carry on here with even half a brain. And if I start having trouble, maybe I can find out where Olga got that robotic brain…

Stretch says he has a perfectly fine brain, thank you, so he’s far more interested in the scientific research that says dark chocolate contains anti-oxidants and increases endorphins which help relieve stress and prevent depression. At least I think that’s what he said; it was hard to understand him with his mouth full of chocolates. . .


Anonymous said...

Do you think it's because she doesn't have a head that her body looks so good? Less thinking, less aging?

I'll go along with Stretch, however, and depend on dark chocolate to relieve my stress.

#1Nana said...

Yes, my problem is less brain cells, but more fat cells. Wish I could reverse the process!

Cathy Scibelli said...

Good point Kathy! Olga obviously doesn't wake up in the middle of the night and start thinking about everything she has to do and worrying about what she hasn't finshed!
And Stretch says you're more than welcome to share his chocolates.

If you find the reverse switch Jann, please let me know!