Writing In Public celebrates the art and intelligence of essays, online and in print.

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In the windowless Brain Center

In the windowless Brain Center

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Veronica Gaylie recounts a memory test with her mother @ Geist. In the window less Brain Centre the doctor sits across from us. “You had an appointment for a memory test two years ago. Why didn’t you show up then?” he asks. My mother, a Glaswegian, the research sub ject, replies, “Well, I am never late. I always keep my appointments.” “I guess you for got,” says the doc tor. We smile just to be polite. He stares back coldly. (No irony in the brain world.) 

The doc tor says, “I am going to say three words. And then I am going to ask you a ques tion. Do you understand?”“Yes,” my mother replies.The doctor says, “Shirt. Honesty. Brown. What is the middle word I just said?”, well,” says my mother. “It is a very good personal qual ity to have. Sorry, I can not remember. Emm … Honesty is the best policy?

The doctor tries it another way. “Humility. Honesty. Modesty. Please name the second word. My mother low ers her eye brows. “Ach. I wouldnae choose. I believe in all of them.”

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Her long hair drifts like seaweed

Her long hair drifts like seaweed

Immaculate repression zone

Immaculate repression zone