Me: Huh? What?
Me: Why am I awake? I have to get some sleep before tomorrow’s big meeting.
Brain: I thought this might be a good time to go over some of the more embarrassing and painful moments of your past.
Me: What? Why now.
Brain: Oh, I don’t know. I just figured it would be — well, think about how you could have done so much better, even as a child —
Me: Oh no. We’re not going to dwell on that the lunch bag incident again? That was forty years ago!
Brain: I wasn’t planning on revisiting the lunch bag incident. Still, it is an excellent starting point.
Me: I don’t know why I stomped on that kid’s lunch. He left it out after first recess.
Brain: You know, I have an image of that’s kids face around here somewhere. Ah yes, here it is. He remembered his lunch, and came out to find you and those other kids taking turns stomping on it. Look at that expression!
Me: Oh, God.
Brain: The fact that he probably has no memory of this at all does nothing to lessen the impact of that image. Here, look again!
Me: I need to sleep, not remember ancient history.
Brain: Ancient history! Right, well, I had planned on starting even earlier than first grade.
Brain: Remember in Kindergarten? There was the African-American kid?
Me: He was the first African-American I’d really talked to.
Brain: Right. And you asked him why his hair was “so weird” didn’t you?
Me: I was just a stupid kid!
Brain: Oh, but the questions of stupid kids have impact too. And do you remember the name you called him?
Me: I … no, I can’t —
Brain: You called him “Jaunty.” I have no idea where you came up with that, but remember how much he hated it?
Me: I —
Brain: But you insisted on calling him “Jaunty.” Even I don’t remember his real name, but you liked to annoy him with that nickname.
Me: I don’t know why!
Brain: But you did it. I’m here to remind you of that!
Me: I need to sleep. Can we go through this some other time?
Brain: No, no, no. This is a perfect time!
Me: I have to sleep. I have a meeting tomorrow, and I’ll make more stupid regrettable mistakes if you don’t let me sleep.
Brain: We’ve only just started. I have volumes of material here.
Brain: Just two incidents, and you already quitting? No, no, no.
Me: Let me sleep.
Brain: Let me see. I have here, seven… no, eight other episodes from Kindergarten alone.
Me: Sleep. I need to sleep.
Brain: Or, perhaps you’d rather jump forward to college? Those are fresher. And, I might add, more embarrassing too. Shall we start with that woman with whom you played those weird eye-contact games during your Literature in Translation class?
Me: Please let me sleep!
Brain: Or shall we review that night you drank too much and barged in on your crush when she was trying to finish her term paper?
Me: OK, that’s it. You’re going to let me sleep, or else.
Brain: Or else? Or else what? You can’t do anything to me. I’m you!
Me: I’m serious. Let me sleep!
Brain: What’re you going to do if I don’t? Drink some booze? Then we can just drunk-dial your ex, and get more material!
Me: I could go out to the garage right now, and start huffing acetone. That’d shut you down!
Brain: You wouldn’t do that.
Me: Keep me awake much longer, and I will!
Brain: You sound like you’re serious.
Me: I am absolutely serious. I mean it!
Brain: OK, OK then. We’ll reconvene on this some other time.
Me: Thank you.
Brain: OK, sleep well then.
Brain: (oh, and enjoy this dream about large spiders)