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Save the brain cells

| Thursday, December 1, 2016

Breaking news: millions of brain cells have been murdered this past football season at the University of Notre Dame. At the final home game, the serial killer known as the Depressant struck for the sixth time this year, killing thousands of unsuspecting civilian brain cells.

As shown by its track record, the Depressant does not abide by just war theory. Both happy and sad memories are subject to suppression, as well as newly encoded information such as the names of roommates’ parents.

The highest density of killings was in the Joyce Center Lot and at Innovation Park. Investigators were called in to sweep the crime scene.  Confronted with conflicting evidence about the identity of the killer, investigators hypothesize that the Depressant may be a drug lord with many underlings. They identified a series of suspect bottles and cans, which have been carted to the recycling facility for further inspection.

These mass killings have had highly destabilizing effects on brain cell survivors, especially in highly connected brain centers, typical at an academic hub like Notre Dame.

“I consolidate in fear,” a short-term memory neuron residing in the hippocampus reported. “I have been attempting to push all my knowledge through systems consolidation. If systems consolidation completes, other lobes will house the important information I store, so no knowledge will be lost if I am in the next round of Depressant victims.”

Other neurons hope to save themselves through resistance. Those in the tolerance center have spearheaded blockades to defend themselves against high Depressant dosages. They hope that these measures would result in a smaller death toll from the same Depressant dose.

Neurons in dopamine receptors, on the other hand, see no issue with the killings. They rejoice when the inhibiting neurons are killed off. “More depressant means less rules. The entire brain enters a state of chaos. Fun is had by all.”

Older neurons do not agree with this logic. They are wary of organizing resistance, though, and have resigned themselves to probable slaughter. That doesn’t prevent them from voicing their complaints.

“Overseas,” an elderly neural housed in the temporal center recalls, “brain cells are not subject to total war.” Rather than one or two slaughters on the weekends, European brain cells experience more regular and moderate challenges.

“A glass of wine with dinner, we can handle that,” the frontal lobe control executive predicts. One of these glasses actually provides benefits to other regions of the body, as reported by the central nervous system. “A funneled six-pack,” she counters, “increases fat cell count and unleashes biological and chemical warfare on the motor control, decision-making and memory consolidation centers of the brain.” It is also seldom consumed with commensurate solid calories, meaning the city centers are given few resources with which to withstand the attacks.

Far left-brain and right-brain cells are calling for civil war, blaming the aforequoted control executive of the frontal lobe for failing to prevent and even masterminding the Depressant attack. “I don’t understand how she has gotten off scot-free,” a parietal neuron remarks. “She is in charge of decision-making, and thus is the one choosing to imbibe, subjecting our citizens to the dangers of the Depressant.”

The control executive shifts the blame to the mirror neurons. She claims that their influence is so strong that she cannot possibly counter their automatic imitation of the behavior the subject encounters on game day. “As subjects cannot help yawning when they see others yawn, they cannot help downing the Depressant when they see others doing so.”

The mirror neurons protest that their function is to send signals to the subject to imitate perceived behavior. Subjects only yields to these commands if their executive control center is too weak to form their own decisions. Furthermore, the consequence-assessment center is suppressed after the Depressant has infiltrated the system, preventing the subjects from reevaluating the possible harmful outcomes of their decisions.

The control executive finally proposed a plan to avoid future Depressant invasions. Frontal planning neurons will quantify maximum Depressant thresholds. If the subject nears these thresholds, warning signals will be sent to the control center to prevent further Depressant consumption.

Additionally, confidence neurons in the speech-production areas will be bolstered to help subjects realize that they are capable to extended small talk with visiting parents without assistance provided by the Depressant.

Finally, neurons in elder, graduated subjects who may wish to relive past glories through Depressant consumption will go through further educative training to understand the damage done to their brain by the Depressant.

“Concussions are getting all the press these days,” the control executive laments. Thankfully brain cells are becoming aware of the dangers posed by the Depressant. It remains to be seen whether subjects will act in accordance with her recommendations to save the brain cells.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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About Erin Thomassen

I am a freshman double majoring in the Program of Liberal Studies (PLS) and French. PLS (aka the Notre Dame Book Club) is the history of ideas through literature, philosophy, math and science. It was the perfect major for me, because I couldn't possibly choose one subject and hurt the other subjects' feelings. French was also a natural pick, since I have been prancing around my house under the pretense of performing ballet for eighteen years. If someone asks me what I do in my free time, I will tell them that I run and read. What I actually do is eat cartons of strawberries and knit lumpy scarves. If you give me fresh fruit, we will be friends. If we become friends, I will knit you a scarf for Christmas. It may be lumpy, but it will be in your favorite color. And if enough people become my friend, lumpy scarves might just become a trend.

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