Doctors say that, if you want to ward off terrible diseases like Alzheimer’s Disease, Dementia, or “The Creeping Stupids,” you need to keep your mind active. That doesn’t mean just continuing to breathe and circulate blood. It means honest to goodness thinking. Making a daily regimen of thought might sound suspiciously like exercise, but BrainLazy is here to… well… keep your brain from being lazy.
In the past the go-to method for keeping your think juices flowing was the crossword puzzle, but I think that ship has sailed. Anything that requires me to use the word epee three times in the same week has no place in my life. Find some other way to stock up on Es, you lousy hack! Plus, pencil and paper are all well and good, but we live in the technology age. If it doesn’t require at least two different communications protocols, a satellite, and enough computing power to put a football team on the moon, it isn’t worth doing. So here are some things I do to stay sharp.
The first little game to keep the mental stagnation at bay is to adopt a new tweeting method. Starting now, try to shove as much relevant information as possible into your tweets without resorting to nonstandard abbreviations. I call it “Tweeter’s Digest.” The rules are simple. No numbers in words (See you later, CU L8R) No letters AS words (R U listening?). At first I was just doing it to get my own messages across. For example:
I am terribly sorry, but owing to an extraordinary sequence of events, including the death of my dog, a car wreck, and a massive disease outbreak in Idaho, I will be unable to attend your birthday party. I hope you enjoy it without me.
Eloquent, yes, but also 235 characters. Trim some adjectives.
I am sorry, but owing to a sequence of events, including the death of my dog, a car wreck, and a disease outbreak in Idaho, I will be unable to attend your birthday party. I hope you enjoy it without me.
Better, but still 203 characters. Time to substitute some shorter words for longer.
I am sorry, but due to a string of events, like the death of my dog, a car wreck, and an epidemic in Idaho, I can’t come to your birthday party. I hope you enjoy it without me.
Oof. 176. Time to trim some more fat.
Sorry, but a string of events (the death of my dog, a car wreck, and an epidemic in Idaho) mean I can’t come to your party. Enjoy.
Tada! 130, and still all of the info. Of course SOME people get a little too aggressive, and end up with stuff like this.
Can’t come, bad things.
Terse, yes, but it doesn’t really inform the reader.
Once you get good enough at it, you might want to switch to summarizing books and films. The Odyssey? “A greek guy takes forever to get home.” Moby Dick? “Crazy whaler tries to find a specific whale, kills whole crew except the narrator.” It works for newer stuff, too. March of the Penguins? “It sucks to be a penguin, cameraman.” Avatar? “Dances with Space Smurfs 3D.” Try it!
Another fun little game is Portmanteau-ver Drive. See, a portmanteau is a word made by smashing one or more words together, like spork, smog, or shart. To play the game, you imagine a combination of two things, then figure out what the best mashup name would be. The previously named Monkephant is an example of this. Orangutan and Chimp? Chimpangatang sounds okay, but oranganzee is much more fluid. Squirrel Taco? Well, much as a taquirrel is intriguing, my vote is for Squirraco. It sound sort of exotic, don’t you think? Any number of real things that are known by a mundane compound word can be known by a Portmanteau as well:
- Rocket plane = Plocket
- Washer Dryer = Drasher
- Sweater Vest = Swest
- Blue Green = Gleen
- North Dakota = Norkota
- Washington District of Columbia = Wastrimbia
Each and every one spices up the language and saves time.
Those two ought to be enough to keep your synapses firing for a while, so I’ve done my publis service for the day. Now the ball is in your court. Spend a few minutes a day turning the works of Shakespeare into 5 tweets and a text, or maybe finding the perfect balance for the smashup of Junior Bacon Cheeseburger (Jubaceesurger?) and you won’t regret it. While your friends are all being spoon fed baby food and forgetting how to clap, you’ll be sitting in your home thinking up new and exciting names for your space phone and technosnacks.