I got you something to fix your brain, said Riho, a genuinely helpful and sincere expression on his face.
Unaware that my brain was in fact broken, I accepted his gift with some surprise. It was a book of puzzles intended to develop logical thinking, and he presented it to me with a pleased smile, telling me it’s like exercise for the brain. Lesser people would almost certainly take offence at this sort of thing, you know.
So, apparently I am not prone to regular bouts of logic, and this has been on Riho’s much too active mind in my absence. I can imagine his distress as he pondered the problem, and his relief when (in a fittingly logical manner) he found a solution. Just start at the beginning of the book, he told me encouragingly, and as you get the hang of it, and they get more and more difficult, you will train your brain to actually use logic!
Not one to be ungrateful for a present, I settled down to attempt the puzzles. What a nightmare. I think that when they were handing out logic I probably got lost on the way to claim mine, being unable to follow my map. The book is full of those puzzles with grids, where you’re given a handful of clues like the oblong box was made two days before the yellow box, which was not circular or decorated with glitter, and some time after the square orange box which was decorated with either sequins or stars, and you have to work out all the information about each item through a series of wild guesses by employing logical thinking.
Poor Riho. I could see his face crumpling as he realised that the situation (or my brain) was much, much worse than he first suspected. He let me wrestle hopelessly with the first (i.e. “easiest”) puzzle for as long as he could endure the wailing and groaning and hitting things as I exclaimed This is Just Not Possible! in an increasingly high-pitched voice. To his credit, he remained calm, taking the book and pen from my clenched fists and attempting to talk me through it. Three hours and several arguments later, the first puzzle was complete, I had a pounding headache, and Riho looked bewildered and decidedly disturbed.
Is it just me? Does this “logical thinking” stuff come naturally to most people? Are other people more resistant to being wound up than I am because this unknown thing called logic steps in and tells them “you know what, think about this – can it really be true?”?
At one point in my life, I believed that chicken fillets came from pigeons. Now, to be fair, I was very young at the time and, having just discovered that meat came from birds and animals, had gotten into the habit of asking “and what animal does this come from?” as I ate my dinner. Having dutifully answered my sausage, bacon and minced beef queries on successive evenings, Dad seemed to have run out of patience by the time I tucked into my chicken dinner. He looked seriously at me, perhaps exasperated at my lack of basic logic even as an infant, and said “pigeon”. My horror earned him a stern glare from Mum, and he hastily assured me that he was joking, trying to explain why it should have been obvious to me that chicken did not come from pigeon, but the damage was done. I was incredibly suspicious of chicken for quite some time.
You think I’m joking, don’t you? You haven’t even heard any of my driving lesson stories. Consider the following exchange between myself and my unfortunate driving instructor friend, which occurred when practising in an unfamiliar area shortly before I attempted my test for the third time: