Conversations with my brain: And then my Basal Ganglia went on strike

Never. Ever.

Brain: Hi there.

Me: Hi Brain.

Brain: I heard you swear last night.

Me: I stubbed my toe. Too fucking right I swore.

Basal Ganglia: Excuse me. I think that was my fault.

Amygdala: No actually it was really my fault.

Brain: I think it happens when my upper and lower functions conflict. You know, language and emotion.

Me: Fuck me, how many of you guys are in there in my skull?!

(A lot of muttering).

Amygdala: You don’t want to know. But we’ve taken a vote and we’d you to stop smacking your head on the keyboard. And wearing tight hairbands.

Me: O… K…

Amygdala: It was my fault you swore when you stubbed your toe. I’m the part of your Limbic System that creates the fight or flight response.

Me: What the fuck is the Limbic System?

Basal Ganglia: Allow me, Amygdala. The Limbic System controls basic movement, memory and emotions.

Amygdala: And the Basal Ganglia manages impulse control and motor function.

Me: Oh really? So it was your fault I stubbed my toe in the first place.

Amygdala: Well, maybe, but moving right along. I’m always on the alert for when you hurt yourself.

Basal Ganglia: And then I step in and make you swear. I’m a bit of a hero, really.

Amygdala: I take that as the signal to throw you into your “fight” mode. We all gang up and flood your system with chemicals like adrenalin so you feel less pain.

Me: So swearing helps me feel less pain?

Basal Ganglia: Exactly. If you over-use swearing, though, the effects wear off.

Me: I find swearing useful when I’m not in pain, too.

Basal Ganglia: I know. We’ve been listening to you.

Me: Don’t judge me, or those hairbands are only gonna get tighter, pal.

Basal Ganglia: You swear a lot. We get tired of having to work for you, you know.

Me: If swearing kicks me into “fight” mode, maybe I like that feeling. So when I want to add some strength and force to what I’m expressing, swearing works for me. But you’re always here controlling my impulse to over-swear, right?

Basal Ganglia: Well… not always…

Me: Come on, without you guys I’m just so much pointless flesh and bone. You’re the ones in charge, right?

Basal Ganglia: I think you’re putting us under too much pressure. There’s only so much we can take.

Me: I see everything clearly now. I wish you’d pay more attention to impulse control when I’ve swallowed most of a bottle of red but can still drive a keyboard and remember my credit card number.

Basal Ganglia: Do you seriously expect me to be controlling what you do 24 hours a day?

Me: Er… Yeah… isn’t that what you’re for? Isn’t that your job?

Basal Ganglia: Listen, mate, don’t oppress me. We brain regions have rights, you know. We do this work for you all the time and we don’t even get paid. Not one cent. I’m going on strike if we don’t get some time off!

Me: Well, tell me which one of you guys I can blame for insomnia and we can get that sorted out right now.

Amygdala: Right, who’s seen the Pineal Gland? Anyone? Hello?

(Crickets chirping). 

Me: Exactly.

My Basal Ganglia disagrees.
It’s absolutely necessary.


Did you know swearing serves a physiological purpose? 

How do you feel about swearing?


  1. DP told me to cut my swearing down a bit. I did the only logical thing and told him to fuck right off. I’ve tested the theory of swearing helps with pain factor and it’s true. I stubbed my toe and didn’t swear. Fucker hurt forever. Swear and the pain is over a lot quicker.

  2. One of the other benefits of swearing is it can also make people laugh!
    There is a funny lovely oldie at the nursing home mum is in and she never fails to make me laugh when she places the right swear word in the exact right place in her sentence.You just don’t expect it from an older lady from the days when swearing wasn’t openly done by women.
    I laugh even harder when she says “what are you bloody laughing about?…Its not funny…for Christ sake so and so really is a bloody idiot” Oh she gets me in giggles everytime.You never know what she is going to come out with.She has an adorable sense of humour.
    Bless those,like yourself who make us laugh.You really do make the world a happier place.Xx

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  5. Haha! I love your conversations with your brain. Mine is nowhere near this sophisticated. It’s more “Get out of bed.” “No, twat off.”

    I read a recent study where they proved that swearing meant you could endure more pain. Nope, no idea where, it was in one of the units I am doing in Psychology. Basically, people who swore were able to sustain pain for longer than people who were not allowed to. So, there’s that.

    As for swearing just because you want to – Absofuckinglutely. To narcissistically quote myself: ‘Just by the way, Shakespeare loved swearing, and only the beige brigade actually believe that old chestnut about using profanity being a sign of a low IQ, or lack of education…If and when I swear it’s because I fucking want to. Sometimes swearing conveys pith and moment. And sometimes I just feel like it.)’

    So, beige brigade, marching morons, dreary grey whingers of the world Fuck ALL Y’all! I will swear when I choose to and you can’t fucking stop me. And if it offends you – GOOD! *Shaking fist at the sky*

  6. Holy crapballs batman, my puter is doing some really strange things. Hopefully the comment finally got through…

  7. I never swear. Nope not I.
    Pardon? Oh that!? That’s just my Tourette’s playing up again.
    Hilarious as always x

  8. People are always totally shocked when I swear, because I come across as prim and proper and most of the time I’m quiet in mixed company. But I swear like a trooper at home. Only problem is my boys have started repeating it, including my four year old. Classy.

  9. OK Debyl1 – I believe that you may find this to be a symptom of the division of the sexes… at least back in the day. Because women always talked to other women as equals – and expressed themselves as needed. It’s a lovely compliment! 🙂

  10. Funnily enough I am a swearer from way back. My Mum used to tell me I had a mouth like a wharfie. Becoming a Mum has changed that however as just like NessOfBoganville I have parrots for children. I do though reserve the right to swear when in pain. I am so glad I can now justify that!!! Hilarious informative post 🙂

  11. I’ve sworn black and blue in a lot of blog posts and definitely if I stub my toe!

  12. Sometimes, the only word is fuck.

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