Unspecified Error

I like to consider myself an intellectual. It seems arrogant to say as much, (to those who are actually intellectual, it also seems like over-reaching). Anyway, the reason I bring it up is that many times that consideration is blunted by a “brain fart” (as my gracious family members occasionally call it). When my mind goes blank, two things happen. Firstly, I can’t remember what I was doing/thinking/saying. Secondly I’m distracted by a brief analysis of what caused the the sudden blank, which then causes me to forget that I forgot something. So not only do I experience being seventy-years old, I also have my ego deflated and I can’t remember what caused the pile-up in the first place.

Why this confession? Until recently, I’ve always had difficulty explaining the experience when it happens. I’ll be in the middle of pelting a student with a list of tips, or I’ll be mid-sentence proving my point to soon-to-be-convinced friend when poof! My mind goes blank and I’ve got nothing. I pause, closing my eyes (as if a blink somehow absconded with my thought). Nothing. I then open my eyes and check the bottom of my eyelashes, just in case. Nothing. I feel a bit like Moe in Bill Watterson’s classic comic strip, Calvin and Hobbes:

Mr. Watterson aside, a few weeks ago, a computer and I shared a moment. This dear desktop knew how to articulate the feeling as only a Microsoft product can:

I can’t think of a better way to describe it. From now on, when my mind goes blank, it’s just another unspecified error.

David Knopp

David Knopp