More Adventures in Brain Damage

August 21, 2008

This reminds me a bit of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. I hope everyone will forgive the presumption of my saying so.

Yesterday, I didn’t bring a lunch to work, though I usually do so. At certain times, my department gets very noisy, and I find it difficult to work and counter-productive to complain. I decided to go out for a late lunch. As I walked down the steps which lead across a “protected” stream and then to a shopping center, a fellow employee (but not in my department and not someone I know) was sitting on the steps, smoking a cigarette.

I don’t smoke, but I felt cordial, so I said in a friendly way, “Smokers have become outcasts in today’s society.”

Vicky (or so her name ironically turned out to be) replied in a friendly and cheerful way, “Everybody else is sitting inside, while I am sitting outside, enjoying the fresh air.”

We fell into amiable conversation, and I ended up telling her about meeting the paralyzed person glad that he was not brain-damaged and the brain-damaged woman a couple of days later. Vicky in turn told me a story:


“I once worked in a restaurant. Another person, brain-damaged, worked as a dishwasher. I learned his story. At one time, he had been a very brilliant man. However, his wife hated him. She hired a contract killer to shoot her husband. The killer’s shot  to the head did not kill him, but he had lost most of his intelligence and now could only work at a menial job such as a dishwasher, and even there, the owner of the restaurant made allowances so he could keep his job.

“However, once in a while, only for a few moments, a few flashes of his old brilliance would emerge and for a few moments he would speak with great intelligence and insight on some topic. Then he would slip back into his usual state as a person who only functioned at a very low level.

“After that experience,” Vicky concluded, “I learned to be very appreciative of what I have.”


5 Responses to “More Adventures in Brain Damage”

  1. cheles Says:

    This is the kind of karma that I would never hope for (if you believe in that sort of thing). How sad but I agree with Vicki- gratitude goes a long way 🙂

  2. modestypress Says:

    It’s getting stranger. I had a stange follow-up to the experience recounted here today. John Lennon’s “Instant Karma’s Going to Get You,” is running through my head. Also have an RG update coming up.

  3. pandemonic Says:


  4. So . . .what she has is a mate who would not hire a contractor to shot her to be thankful for? It boggles my mind why anyone would resort to murder when divorce is a viable option as well. Perhaps they just don’t like dealing with lawyers.

  5. The appreciation we learn from for a touching post!

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