Thursday, October 26, 2006

On blogging Some times, it's all good. This from Dilbert creator Scott Adams:
As regular readers of my blog know, I lost my voice about 18 months ago. Permanently. It’s something exotic called Spasmodic Dysphonia. Essentially a part of the brain that controls speech just shuts down in some people, usually after you strain your voice during a bout with allergies (in my case) or some other sort of normal laryngitis. It happens to people in my age bracket.

I asked my doctor – a specialist for this condition – how many people have ever gotten better. Answer: zero.

. . .

To state the obvious, much of life’s pleasure is diminished when you can’t speak. It has been tough.

I had no idea, not being a regular reader of his blog. But the good news:
The day before yesterday, while helping on a homework assignment, I noticed I could speak perfectly in rhyme. Rhyme was a context I hadn’t considered. A poem isn’t singing and it isn’t regular talking. But for some reason the context is just different enough from normal speech that my brain handled it fine.

Jack be nimble, Jack be quick.
Jack jumped over the candlestick.

I repeated it dozens of times, partly because I could. It was effortless, even though it was similar to regular speech. I enjoyed repeating it, hearing the sound of my own voice working almost flawlessly. I longed for that sound, and the memory of normal speech. Perhaps the rhyme took me back to my own childhood too. Or maybe it’s just plain catchy. I enjoyed repeating it more than I should have. Then something happened.

My brain remapped.

My speech returned.

Very cool. Something similarly weird happened to Jenny Craig a while back, which is why you quit seeing her in commercials.

Not that it has anything to do with this, but one of our cultural anthro colleagues who worked in SE Asia caught some form of parasite that completely denuded his entire body of hair. (Er, we assume it was in entirety; we didn't actually check everywhere *ahem*). That should go under the Dangers of Fieldwork.

Just so you know, I have no grave physical deformities to claim, except for that thing on my head that looks like a '47 Ford.