Easy Way to Keep the Old Noggin Razor Sharp

Do you engage in activities like crossword puzzles, word games, chess, Bridge or other card games to keep your brain sharp? I’ve always preferred computer cardgames, because you don’t have to arrange your cards in your hands or shuffle anything, thus slowing down your progress. Also, I determined a couple of years back that, yes! it is possible to win every FreeCell game. That’s been my challenge to myself, and I won’t give up until I’ve won every game I’m dealt, regardless of how many times I have to redeal the same hand. I’ve never found a game that stumped me yet.

Lately, though, I’ve noticed Hubby’s absorption in the numbers game, Sudoku. He sometimes sits before the blaring TV set with a game in hand and forgets to watch the show. He begins the week with the local paper’s Sudoku entry, beginning with the extra-easy on Monday, and goes through the week with gradually more difficult games. I’ve watched him from time to time and quickly rejected the idea of making my brain work so hard figuring out possible moves ahead of time in order to successfully complete the puzzle. It makes my head hurt just thinking about it.

A couple of days ago, however, when I asked him if he was getting so bored with retirement that he was forced to sit like an old man not noticing anything else around him. Then, somehow, before I knew what happened he handdrew a super-easy puzzle for me, then went to my blogger friend Paul’s (of eldertribune) game page to choose a Sudoku game for me. It wasn’t long before I got absorbed, and not much longer after that I made my first crucial mistake. Each move has to be calculated and correct or you’ll eventually hit a wall and realise you messed up.

Well, I thought, maybe I will try to do this more AFTER November’s over. One of the beauties of it is that it takes no special hand-held gizmo other than a piece of paper or a note pad to draw on, and you can fit it in your purse, take it with you anywhere, and work on it whenever you find yourself waiting anywhere. Banging my  head against the wall Participating in the nanowrimo novel writing madness during November leaves me little time to take on anything new right now, however.

Then this morning as I stumbled late into the kitchen for my morning coffee that Hubby always graciously makes as soon as he gets up (almost always before I do), he tells me he has an article from the Financial Times that I should read. I finish fixing my coffee and sit down at the table with him to find out what’s so new he should want to call my attention to it so early (8:45 am) in the morning. The article is in the Science Briefing section of the World News Page where I read astonishing news! Rather than worry about learning to play Bridge or a new number game like Sudoku, all I have to do to keep my mind sharp is gossip!

Yes, you read that right! Gossip! In studies out of the Universities of Michigan and California has come this startling evidence that just a few minutes of gossip conversation everyday with another person will keep your mental faculties sharpened to a degree never before suspected. Surprisingly also, it doesn’t seem to matter how intellectual the conversation. You can talk about the concept of participatory economics as opposed to our present capitalist system, or you can spend the 10 minutes rambling about that hot episode of yesterday’s soap opera or last night’s TV crime drama, or even that stinky cabbage your neighbors cook for dinner every Friday.

“In our study, socializing was just as effective in boosting memory and intellectual performance,” said lead author Oscar Ybarra of Michigan, saying that just 10 minutes of chatter was enough to improve memory and mental performance.”

Who woulda thunk it?! My mother’s friend, Mrs. Pope, obviously knew something all those years ago that we didn’t! She would telephone my mother every single day. My mother, being a timid sort, didn’t quite know how to hang up graciously, so sometimes the conversations lasted an hour or more. She’d grumble about it some, but continued to answer her phone every afternoon when it rang like clockwork, pausing to tell anyone with her “that’ll be Clarinda.” Mrs. Pope turned 100 years old the year after Mama died. People tell me her mind remained razor sharp to the day she died!  

It would be nice to learn that “gossiping,” as I do here through this blog, is beneficial too. Then I could justify the time I spend here at my keyboard throughout the day to Hubby, who then wouldn’t care that I’m not yet that “into Sudoku.” 

In the meantime,  you people out there who feel so disposed, lift that telephone receiver, dial that friend’s number and get to gossiping. Or go out and take a walk and chat with the neighbors you happen to meet along the way. One warning, don’t stop everyone you meet on the street and begin to chit-chat about Britney or Brad and Angelina. You might find people you know start crossing the street when they see you coming, me included!

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5 thoughts on “Easy Way to Keep the Old Noggin Razor Sharp

  1. Just because of you, I sent an email. It got returned/refused and I was forced into more social interaction to send it off again. What is this world coming to.

  2. LOL….this was great, Alice. I’m still chuckling on your final paragraph.
    My Hubby is addicted to the USA Today crossword puzzels AND the Sudoku. Actually, my other Alice girlfriend in Boston told me about Sudoku a couple years ago. (SHE is a number person….”I” am NOT) So I told Hubby about it, bought him a few books and he’s hooked. That’s how he spends a few hours each afternoon. As for me…I prefer to keep my mind razor sharp with things like knitting (focus and concentration needed) and the Internet.
    BUT….there might be something to that gossip thing. Think about it…small towns tend to gossip a LOT. Just the way it is. And the longevity here on Cedar Key is pretty darn good….and there’s ALways mega gossip!…..today there’s a service for a local…..she passed away last week at the age of 95.
    Yup….I think I need to participate in more gossip…..lol

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