DURHAM — For at least 100 years the more oddball branches of science have struggled to answer this metaphysical head-scratcher: How much does the human soul weigh?
In 1907, a Massachusetts doctor named Duncan MacDougall settled on the figure of 21 grams – the average weight loss experienced by six terminal tuberculosis patients he strapped to a scale at the moment of death.
A dozen years ago, an Oregon rancher named Lew Hollander tried to measure the souls of one ram, seven ewes, three lambs and a goat. His findings: The animals actually gained weight as they shook off this mortal coil – anywhere from 18 to 780 grams.
Now, this summer, the Rhine Research Center in Durham will host the latest experiment aimed at nailing down the intangible essence of mankind.
The method: 1.) Stand on a scale. 2.) Have an out-of-body experience. 3.) Record weight.
When I said I was dying to lose some weight to get into that new dress, I did not mean it literally.
Usually when I stand on a scale I have a “wish I were out of my body” experience. No matter what it says, I still get irritated. Or, maybe if it loudly announced YOU ARE FREEKING HOT. YOU ARE HOTTER THAN SANDRA BULLOCK, then maybe I wouldn’t hate it. But it would be close. Particularly if I were a terminal tuberculosis patient and were strapped to it. Plus I’d probably gain the damn 18 to 780 grams, although the idea is by then I would no longer care.
How many out-of-body experiences have you two had? I had one once. I got the flu. My temp was 104. They kept asking me my name but I wasn’t sure I had it right. Terri? Is it Terri? Am I on Jeopardy?
Or that might be more like an out-of-mind experience.
You put your brain right in,
You put your brain right out,
You put your brain right in,
And you shake it all about.
You do the hokey pokey
and you turn yourself around
That what it’s all about.
I tend to have out-of-mind experiences, but when my brain leaves it never takes me with it. Later it wanders back, dazed and confused, apparently unaware, itself, where it journeyed. I think it’s been on the merry-go-round one too many turns.
We had a little disagreement last Friday.
Brain said, “That was kinda tough. Are you sure we should have done that?”
I said to Brain, “Why? Do you not trust me?” with a little whiny accent on the trust; now I’ve turned it into a matter of trust, expediently getting the focus off of me.
“Wellllll….sure…,” Brain replied, hesitantly. (see how that worked? Now Brain is questioning itself instead of focusing on me. Keep this technique in mind next time you need to divert attention.)
You know, you have one little event and everyone immediately assumes that’s how things are going to roll from now on. Seriously, who would have thought, when they signed up for the Bartlett 50K a few years ago in May that it was going to hit 103 degrees and 1,437% humidity in Memphis that August race day? Memphis doesn’t see 100’s. Well, except that day, and this week. 100bajillion% humidity, of course, but not 100+ degrees. I still insist that was not a seizure I had on the bathroom floor. I knew what was going on and could talk. I just couldn’t stop my entire body from jerking. My head kept hitting the bathroom door and I think that bothered the twins a bit, all that irregular banging which they could hear from upstairs, so I felt bad about that, not that it appeared I could do much to make it end. And why did hubs keep looking at his watch? Anyway, everything was fine. I finally stopped jerking – hey, I wanted to stop as much as they wanted me to – got into the ice bath, cooled off, ate something, took a nap and I was good to go.
Since then Hubs has renamed the Bartlett Ultra: The Stupid Run. He thinks the race shirt logo should be “I’m With Stupid” with an arrow pointing up.
Unfortunately, following that I have developed a bit of an intolerance to heat, which apparently can happen after an ‘issue’. I try to be tolerant of most stuff, except raging idiots, but heat gets to me. I’ve been reading a lot about heat acclimation and the physiological changes your body undergoes to adapt. Over the period of 7-10 days your body creates more blood plasma and blood volume increases, allowing your body to devote more blood flow to the extremities. Initially while running in heat your body diverts more blood to the core to cool your vital organs, but as you continue to be exposed to heat the increased blood plasma and blood volume allows blood flow to the skin and extremities also. The more efficiently your body can cool, the lower your heart rate and the easier it is to function. At least that’s my synopsis of my readings.
Also unfortunately, the only way to be exposed to heat in order to start this process is to go outside in the heat. Pretty much daily. Because third unfortunately is this process reverses itself nearly as quickly, and isn’t that just the way it always goes.
Friday I worked with Killer at 7, got home, putzed, and started out for my run at 9am. Took me 1:19 and change to do 7 miles. I ran through two sprinklers, drank my 16 ounce bottle dry, stopped at the fountain in the park at mile 5, filled the bottle, drank that, poured three bottles of water over me, drank some more, refilled it and poured that over me during the final two miles. I ran slow, I walked, I hydrated, I did fine. But Brain didn’t seem to want to go along for the ride, and that’s when the argument started.
“It’s hoooooooottttttt,” whined Brain.
“I don’t like this,” Brain complained.
“We should stop now,” cajoled Brain.
I patiently explained to Brain that if we did stop now, we would have to walk 2.5 miles back to the house.
“Oh. Never mind, let’s run,” Brain decided, only to rethink it all a few minutes later, “we could walk 2.5 miles, we could.”
“Look, Brain,” I said, feeling slightly irritated at its constant negativity, “I know we could walk 2 miles. But we could run it and be home sooner.”
“AH. Never Mind.”
“See? I know what I’m doing here. Look: Water Bottle.” I held up the full water bottle for Brain to see.
“I want some,” Brain said. Now Brain is just being contrary.
“We JUST HAD SOME.”
“I want more.”
“No, wait. Wait until four more light posts.”
“onetwothreefour,” Brain counted quickly.
“You always cuss when you don’t want to discuss things rationally,” accused Brain.
“I &*^&’ing DO NOT!” I said, apparently a bit too loudly since the guy watering his yard looked up startled and kind of backed up toward the house.
“Now look what you did! That man thinks I’m crazy now!”
Brain sighed. “Um…you are crazy.”
“Let’s walk the last half mile,” I sighed.
No wonder I’d like an out-of-body experience. Brain is making me nuts.