Thursday, September 19, 2013

Brain Drain

My mother died of early-onset Alzheimer's at age 62. I was 34 at the time, and since then I have kept up with all the latest findings on the disease. One thing that seems clear is that, like any other body part, when it comes to the brain it's use it or lose it. To that end I am a nut about crossword puzzles and word games and reading and writing, believing that continually stretching my brain will keep it from crumbling, or at the very least, I'll notice if it starts to go. I believe that playing Words With Friends is therapeutic. Ditto Scrabble. I don't feel guilty since all I'm doing is taking my medicine, which just happens to be fun. Every Sunday when the New York Times arrives, I do the crossword in the magazine. Like a good girl. I am not wasting my time, I am avoiding dementia.

So the other day when I got an invitation from a friend to play Candy Crush Saga, a Facebook game I have studiously avoided thus far, I was unsure how to react. It's a quandary, since one of my dearest old friends plays it with gusto, and so if it's good enough for her, maybe it's good enough. I said to myself, "Hey, she's asking me to play, she's my pal, she's no dummy, I'll give it a try." So I did. And I gotta say, it seemed like if I played that game regularly it would actually bring on Alzheimer's. I had no idea what the goal of the game was, nor did I know even how to start, but that mattered not at all since suddenly I had won the top spot over three of my friends who have all been playing for months. There were lots of flashing lights and numbers coming at me, and little cartoon people, and it all had to do with brightly-colored, throbbing pieces of candy, like jelly beans and suckers. Anyway, since there is no way playing Candy Crush Saga could be considered therapeutic I will resist, although I'm sure it is one hell of a fun time-waster.

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