This thing in your brain
It was there waiting in 1949 when you were just
a little baby born to parents who should never have
It was there when you learned to walk and talk.
It was there when you lost your first tooth, learned to read and figured out you
were pretty good at math and spelling.
It was there when your mother took you away from your father late one night,
and still there when you looked out the window at the prairie passing by as a train took you back
Leaving your friends and father back in Missouri.
It was there when you got kicked out of Catholic school, when you played hockey and got into
that bad bicycle crash.
It was there when your Dad took you to live with him again and you ripped your arm open on the
metal fencing while trying to sneak into a college football game.
Northwestern was playing!
It was there when you got a small Honda motorbike, when you smoked your first cigarette, when
you played pool and when you got the nickname “Bucks.”
It was there when you moved out on your own at age 17.
It was there when you had sex for the first time, smoked pot and protested the Vietnam War.
It was there when you dropped acid, traveled around Europe, made art with Robert
Rauschenberg and got thrown into a Mexican jail.
It was there when you silkscreened McGovern t-shirts and painted signs for head shops around
It was there when you joined the YMCA to swim and shower because you had no hot water in
the loft you lived in.
It was there when you met a lifeguard at the Y who would later become your wife.
But first you took her out or actually she took you out because you had no money.
You both got a little drunk, and she learned your last name was McCool
It was there when she decided you were actually a pretty handsome guy.
It was there when you married that lifeguard, both of you blissfully ignorant to the fact that in 25
years or so it would finally begin its slow and steady march toward your frontal lobe.
It would take no prisoners. It would leave a family broken, confused, angry and penniless.
It would take away your dignity, your freedom, your memories and your emotions.
It has always been there, waiting for just the right time
to ruin lives.
This thing in your brain has a name.
It is called Frontotemporal Dementia,
and it’s a mean son of a bitch!