DOERS AND BLOWERS
It's not my plan to link my
thoughts to the Cathy comic strip every time I write*,
but cartoonist Cathy Guisewhite has just done it again: nailed an aspect of bouncing-
braininess that ought to hit home for just about every one of us.
In her strip on
8/27/97, (which should be displayed at her web site soon), the punch line
panel has mother saying to daughter:
"No wishy-washy middle
ground for us!
We're One Hundred Percent Doers and Blowers."
That sure hits home for
people like us. Get a bouncing brain turned on and it might zoom from zero to sixty in two
seconds flat, but ask it to hold a steady speed in between and its tires go flat.
This pull between your
personal poles can be the most crazy-making part of owning a brain that is raring to race.
the Inner Bunny: "Raring to race?" I can hear some readers
wonder. How can that be when so much of what we don't get done looks like it comes from
moving too slow?
For what it's worth, here's
my take: Something drives a bouncing brain to race with the metaphorical wind in its face,
grabbing the gusto of choice to keep psyched. But if it can't get enough of that stimulus
fuel, it runs out of gas and the wannabe-racing rabbit inside turns into a tortoise
One one end of the spectrum
of bouncing- braininess, some people can't gear it down; their inner rabbits are Energizer
Bunnies in perpetual hyperdrive. On the other end of that same spectrum are those who
can't find enough of the stim they need to fuel up to cruising speed for more than brief
spurts of time.
People stuck in that
stalled-out place might look like turtles a great deal of the time, barely aware
they have a racing rabbit asleep inside. But even when the Inner Bunny is sleepy and
hard to rouse, the urge to awaken it propels their minds to keep hopping around.
In more mechanical terms,
you could say that people with bouncing brains seem to have fewer notches on their brain
levers and dials that help them modulate to the speeds in between High and Low. Hence they
may be amazingly competent when turned on, yet almost inert around tasks that shut them
down. Thus do we get the "Doers and Blowers" that Cathy's mom mentioned.
Relative Rabbit: What energizes this metaphorical bunny is also relative.
What will take to flip it from full speed ahead to full stop will differ from person to
Where an unbalanced
checkbook might appear extremely lax and unplugged around a person with tight boundaries
about doing things "properly," a more laid-back bouncing brain might let all
bank statements pile up until April 14. Where the threat of a B in school might keep a
hypermental type up all night perfecting a paper, his extra- physical hyperkinetic cousin
might consider it a victory to stand still long enough to earn any Bs at all in school.
Thus, what seems "Extra High" or "Extra Low" (or Extra Upsetting) is
relative to who you are and what you are trying to do.
But regardless of the
differences in the kinds of stim they need to power their drives, the crux of the struggle
shared by all bouncing brains is about how highly charged they need to be to keep their
attentions where they want them to be.