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By Pam Burke 

The Airhead DNA Theory


Sometimes I wish I’d taken drugs in my youth — not that I’m advocating that behavior as a lifestyle, but it just seems like such a white-bread cliché to blame my chronic airheadedness on being a natural blonde.

And I’ve met my parents, known them since birth (my birth). They seem to be reasonably intelligent people, so it’s highly unlikely that it’s a genetic problem. I didn’t have children so I can’t blame them somehow, like they can alter human genetics retroactively.

Maybe it’s my very lack of children that caused the problem. I wasn’t forced through the strange accident of birth-giving to be a responsible grownup, hence my brain never evolved, like some twist on Darwin’s theory of evolution.

It’s just been a tough seven days. I’d like to think that’s the problem, but I don’t know.

It started out last Friday with the discovery that our well pump was out, so I spent the weekend constantly having to remind myself of the things I couldn’t do. It was like when the power goes out and you think, “Guess I’ll just sit here in the dark and watch some TV … or, erm, not.”

Or maybe that’s just me who does that, but I do know this was all me:

“I should bathe the dog,” I thought. “Uh, no. No water.”

“Well, maybe I’ll go spray some weeds. NO. No water to mix the spray concentrate.”

“So I guess I’ll mow — ugh, NO. No access to a shower until the morning and I’m not going to get all the blown dust and grass off with a spit-bath.”

And all of a sudden I couldn’t pay my brain to continue forgetting to water the plants like I have for the past month. It was all I wanted to do Sunday, just waste some of our few precious gallons of water on a bunch of sickly little house plants, as if they couldn't survive another month on the moisture they suck out of the air.

I did get to bum a shower to get cleaned up for a flight in a restored B-25J Mitchell Bomber that was flown into Cut Bank. The Commemorative Air Force was giving rides to the public and sharing the historical aviation experience.

It was a really moving experience.

Yet, I don’t know how to calculate the percentage of time I spent on my flight making bets with myself about whether or not the reporter sitting across from me was actually going to puke during the flight — laughing in my head every time the pilot banked the plane hard and the reporter rolled her eyes in mute protest of this abuse.

It wasn’t until about the fifth retelling of that story that it finally dawned on me that I should be grateful I lost the bet with myself that the reporter would get airsick. She was facing me, I would’ve been wearing her breakfast and bile till I got home 10 hours later, with no shower to clean the yuck off.

I told one of the guys we traveled with to ride on the B-25 that after I crawled down the tail section of the airplane fuselage to sit in the tail gunner’s pedestal seat, head poking up above the airplane tail and looking out through a glass turret — a large glass bubble — I had just one thought:

Those WWII combat gunners had to have some guts (yeah, let’s just pretend that I said guts and not some other part of the anatomy) to sit back there, fully visible to the enemy like a bulls-eye target, just shootin’ like madmen while waiting to get their (upper posterior region of the anatomy covered by pants) shot off.

“Yes,” he said, “you could really feel the spirit of those men who came before us and sacrificed so much for us.”

“Yeah, wha—, that, but I, and that thing about the spirit is totally what I was really saying.”

Whatever, my WWII Bronze Star veteran grandpa would’ve gotten what I said.

Scientists say that sometimes genetic abnormalities skip a generation. So maybe I'm on to something.

(The B-25 brought history to life at pam@viewfromthenorth40.com.)


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