Six Degrees of Brian Dennehy

Maybe it’s because of my ADHD, but I have a tendency to throw wrong words into a conversation for no discernible reason.   I know what I want to say, and to the best of my knowledge the right words are speeding on their way to my mouth – and then my brain jumps ahead to a different thought while my mouth is still wrapping up the first one.

And I end up saying things like, “That sale ends tomorrow, so your father and I are going to get up early to go dancing.”

Now, I’m not thinking about dancing.  I may be thinking about any of a variety of subjects, but I can guarantee that dancing is not one of them.  The word just pops out of nowhere.

I’ve always done this, but it has definitely gotten worse with age.   “Mommy brain” is part of it, and so is stress, but sometimes there is just no explanation for what I say.  At work, I once told a client I’d start her haircut as soon as I got some forks out of the sanitizer.  The irritating part is that I didn’t realize it as I continued to substitute fork for comb through the entire service.

I guess it’s not all that difficult to understand why that particular client went to a different stylist after that.

My kids and husband have learned to translate for me.  “Has anybody seen my goulash?”  I’ll say.

“Purse?”

“Coat?”

“Keys?”

By which point I have probably already found my gloves.

My Dad did the same thing, but we blamed it on beer or his general absentmindedness.  In his case, the part of his brain that threw in random words was also the part of his brain that resided firmly in the gutter.  On one memorable visit to my sister at college, he regaled the roomful of girls with a fascinating story about a co-worker who had broken his sternum in an accident.

“Can you imagine the pain of a broken sternum?”  He asked.  “I mean, the sternum is right there in your core.   You can’t really move without having an effect on your sternum.  Yessir, a broken sternum’s got to be just about the most painful thing you can have.  I sure would hate to have anything happen to my sternum.”

Now, go back and read that again, but this time substitute scrotum for sternum.  Every single time.  He honestly had no idea he was saying it.  Loud, proud, and several times.

Dad also had a knack for not remembering the names of the celebrities he wanted to talk about.  He could remember the most intricate details of their careers, who they were married to, and so on, but names were details he just couldn’t grasp.

“You know that one actor,”  he would begin, and my sisters and I would roll our eyes and get ready for the ride; “that one guy who was in the movie with that other guy who was married to the girl who did that priest movie with the guy from the doctor show?  Not the doctor show with the guy who sold coffeepots, or the doctor show with the firemen and that Indian that you girls always had a crush on, but the other doctor show?  You know the guy I’m talking about, right?”

The answer, by the way, was always Brian Dennehy.

Just this morning, I had almost that exact conversation with my husband about a DVD I want for Christmas.  “It’s the remake,” I told him.  “The one with that one actress.  You know, the one whose dad was married to the woman from movie where the robots take over?  It had that bald guy that my mom thought was sexy, the guy who was in the musical with the lady from that movie with the guy that did all the Hitchcock movies.”

“Honey, you’re doing it again,” the Big Guy said gently.

I just hope he figures out that I want “Emma” with Gwyneth Paltrow.

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