Sometimes I forget that my stroke brain was sizzled. Sometimes that’s a good thing.

And sometimes it’s not.

Wow, I don’t think I’ve ever written the word sometimes so many times in such a short time. And now I can’t recall what I was on about. Oh ya, forgetting. How ironic. Or is that really irony? Hmm, no…

Never mind, I should get back on track.

That’s a bit how my mind worked – or didn’t work – after it was buzzed by a stroke nearly six years ago. I couldn’t keep on track. I’d lose the thread of every conversation, every activity. Every thing.

I try to remember that to motivate me to keep my melon charged up, keep using it, to fight off any rust. I don’t want that strokey feeling again, whether it’s caused by another stroke, injury or inactivity. I really do believe, and science seems to back me up here, that it can be use it or lose it with the brain.

But I also try to forget the stroke, the damage that it did and the damage that remains. I don’t want to think of myself as different, flawed or week. I’ll ignore my major remaining stroke scar, a reading disability. I’ll gloss over the fact that letters appear out of sequence to me. Or that they don’t form into words quickly — if at all — without the aid of tech tools.

And then, as happened last weekend, my denial will lead me to do stupid things.

Over the weekend I went to get my oil changed. I saw three drive in doors at the garage. There were cars lined up a too, I picked the third. I spotted a bunch of words up top. Lots of words. I ignored my reading snafu and decided everything was fine. I was just another regular guy lined up for an oil change.

When the door opened and I drove in, the garage dude asked my name. When I told him and he couldn’t find it on his clip board, he looked confused. I explained that I had no appointment, I was just in for a quick oil change. No appointment necessary, I’d been told.

Turns out, if I’d read the signs above the doors, I’d have learned that I’d gone into the spot for folks with appointments for major work. Now garage guy had to get folks to pull out from where I’d driven in to make room to back out my rig. Then I was at the back of the line up for drop in oil changes.

Not the end of the world. But it kind of leaves a fella with a dumb dumb feeling.

So, for the rest of the Year of the Monkey at least, I’m going to try to remember Forest Gumps’ words – stupid is as stupid does. I’m going to try to embrace who I am, turtle reading and all.

BTW, I did this ditty with no proof reader. I’m trying to see if i can trust my reading device tech to keep me golden



  1. Way to go Tim. I’d grade this an A+ especially without proof-reading. I wonder, did you tell the person at the garage about your stroke? I know it’s personal, but at the same time it could be a great learning opportunity for them. And maybe eventually the could use a more visual sign with less words.


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