I heard about a Free Brain Fair, so I drove down to the fairgrounds and encountered a huge area of display tables, much like a flea market, complete with a large inflatable brain at the center of it all. I saw brains of all kinds, sizes and conditions on the tables. Some were still in cellophane packaging, and some had been used.
A salesman spotted me, “Looks like you could use a new brain. Are you looking for new or used one?”
“Well, I am not sure; this is the first Brain Fair I have ever attended,” I replied, wondering if my Parkinson’s disease was that obvious or he just said that to all potential buyers.
“Do you have a brain you would like to trade in?
“Yes, but what about the free ones?”
“Well, let’s see what we can find,” he continued, as if I hadn’t said anything. “Every brain you purchase with Brains-R-Us comes with an extended warranty, free maintenance for one year and optional cell protection treatment of your brain.”
“I don’t think I can afford a new one. Where are the free brains?” I asked, wishing I had money.
“First let me tell you about our import models. They are new, but at the price of used brains. The advantage is that no thoughts have ever entered them, except during transport. They can be programmed specifically for your needs.”
“Like programming a new computer? Then the old programs won’t work with the new operating system. What a hassle! No thanks.”
“No problem; our service department is top notch. Besides, much of the information from your current brain is transferred to the new one, like with cellphones. What make and model brain do you have?”
“It’s the one that came with me when I was born.”
“Original equipment? Amazing, most brains have been replaced or rebuilt long before someone gets to your age.” He seemed genuinely astonished. “Does it have any problems we need to know about?”
“I have Parkinson’s disease.”
“Oh my, that really hurts the trade-in value, you know.”
“I need a new brain, that’s why I came here.” I said without hiding my annoyance. “Where are the free brains?”
He returned to his spiel, “these new imports have the latest and greatest modifications and improvements – all the new advances have been implemented.
“What about the breaking in process? Don’t new brains have to be broken in?”
“Well, yes, for the first week or so. Be careful of excess brain stimulation, and no heavy thinking.
“But I need my brain fully functional right away.” I argued.
“I see. Perhaps, we should look at the previously owned models.”
“Used brains? What about the free brains?” I was beginning to feel like he was only concerned about his commission and didn’t really care about me.
“Let me show you this one here. It comes with a Brainfax report. The info attached to this brain shows the maintenance record through the years, every doctor’s appointment and every neurological test ever done. It lists the previous owner’s occupation, likes and dislikes.
“My concern with used brains is whether they were abused. Has this brain ever been subjected to addictions? Has it ever experienced any plastic surgery or reconstruction due to blows to the head? Has the odometer been turned back to give the illusion of low usage? You guys are good at glossing over such things.”
“The Brainfax report doesn’t show any of those things on this model.”
“Oh my, the price is still out of my price range.” I said, experiencing sticker shock, “the promotion is called a Free Brain Fair. Don’t you have any free brains?”
“Well…” he said as he cleared his throat, “Yes, we do. They are over here.” He led me past the used brains, past the row of brains they were going to wholesale at an auction, past the refreshment counter and machines, past the circus tent, past the port-a-potties, all the way to tables filled with piles of grey matter, white matter, unrecognizable matter and other things that didn’t matter.
“These look like your rejects.”
“Well, I wouldn’t call them that, but they do have issues. Remember, you get what you pay for. If you want a quality brain, you really should seek financing and purchase a new one or certified used one.”
“Sorry, I think I will keep the one I have for a little while longer.” I disappointedly left with the same brain I had when I arrived