Put Your Mind Where Your Body Is

If I weren't so absent-minded, I probably would have made a good absent-minded professor. It's not that I would not have completed my dissertation like so many others. I would not have figured out what field it should be in in the first place (although quite a few would have been eliminated by natural selection). 

But I digress. Which is the point.

My thoughts tend to wander; My attention is easily nabbed; I am frequently accused by my family of leaving "ummms" in the air; and many a story I tell begins about the third paragraph because I forget that you, the listener, haven't been in my head for the set-up grafs.

A few years after she started attending meetings in a mutual support group that has distilled a lot of useful advice into succinct slogans, Deirdre began to tell me to "put you mind where your body is" on those occasions when I appeared to be astrally astray. I've sort of assumed she picked the phrase up "in the rooms," as they say, and considered in right up there with "one day at a time" as very enlightened way of conducting one's journey in this manifestation.

I am a devotee of the back page of The New Yorker, which features a caption contest. I usually give myself about 30 seconds to see if a line occurs to me to submit; I think there has been only one time over the years when it has. It's harder than it looks to concoct a phrase that's seems familiar but, combined with the picture, is offbeat enough to make you laugh. But this week, a made an instantaneous connection, the way that you imagine all great cartoon captions are created (but no doubt aren't):

I wanted to see you, Forbes, because lately your mind
doesn't seem to be where you're body is.

I know, you're not laughing. And I know why.

I decided I'd better Google the phrase "put your mind where your body is." Not that I was going to give attribution to the original author, or put in a footnote or anything, but because I wanted to at least know who I was ripping off besides my wife. 

Well, for perhaps the second time ever in my experience, the Google search came up empty. No direct hit on the phrase. It's not from the rooms. It's not from a mystic philosopher like Thich Nhat Hanh or Yogi Berra. Evidently, it's just  not in the communal stream of consciousness. Reading the line is like hearing me start a story in the third paragraph. You have no frame of reference.

Well, I submitted it anyway, even if, like most things I write nowadays, it's impact goes no further than my own bemusement. 

(Thanks, Deirdre, for keeping me grounded.)

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