So, Mr. Cain, Mr. Perry, relax. I understand your pain. I know what it is to suffer brain freezes. But then again, I wouldn’t vote for me for president, either.
“Give me liberty or, ah, um, excuse me for a minute, I had it a minute ago.”
“Four score and ah, oh shoot, how many years ago was that, anyway? All these numbers are swirling in my head.”
“Agitate. Agitate. Ah, um, give me a moment. It’ll come to me.”
“Dec. 7, 1941, a day that will ah, oooh, let me think for a minute. A day that, um, ah. Don’t tell me. I know this one.”
“Ask not what your country can do for you — ask, oh, no. Geez. Ah. Er. Ask something else.”
“Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this, this, ah, this big, concrete and barbed wire thing here.”
Just think …
Uncomfortably lengthy pause.
Ah, give me a second here. I know I was going to write something else. It’ll come to me in a minute. All these letters swirling about in my head.
Just think if some of our country’s most famous orators were stricken with the groping, faulty memories of us mere mortals.
We’ve all struggled and fumbled for our next thought at one point or another. My mother says, “If you can’t remember what you were going to say, it couldn’t have been that important, anyway.”
Sorry mom. Tell that to Republican presidential candidates Herman Cain and Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Both men famously froze at inopportune moments recently.
Perry acted as if he’d been asked to explain the math behind string theory, quantum physics and Einstein’s theories of relativity when, during a debate, he was asked what three federal departments he would cut. He could only name two. Hey, apologies to Meat Loaf, but two out of three ain’t bad.
In contrast, Cain totally whiffed during an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s editorial board, during which he was asked if he agreed with President Barack Obama’s Libyan policy.
Cain mumbles, stares at the ceiling and generally acts as if he’d been asked to compare and contrast Dante’s crossing the river Styx to Siddhartha’s river crossing in Hermann Hesse’s novel, using examples from his reading.
I can sympathize with both men, for I am cursed with a brain that short circuits regularly. If I don’t use a co-worker’s name on a regular basis — and I mean daily — I forget it. I’ve totally blanked on people I’ve worked with for years. I grope to gain their attention without admitting the embarrassment of having forgotten their names.
During my English finals in college, I’d get the essays down fine. It was the match-the-quote-to-the-author sections that drove my GPA down.
So, Mr. Cain, Mr. Perry, relax. I understand your pain. I know what it is to suffer brain freezes.
But then again, I wouldn’t vote for me for president, either.
Dan Mac is senior editor of the Ipswich (Mass.) Chronicle.