the way my mind works

Last night I was on twitter.

(I know, shocking).

And I was having a discussion with @prettyalltrue and @moveovermaryp about school crossing guards.  @prettyalltrue was letting us know her daughter–who is a crossing guard–does not approve of talking to the guard.  not even a “thank you.”

This prompted me to remember that Cort was once a crossing guard, but we called them “safety’s” back then.

Which caused me to ask Cort, “who sang “The Safety Dance?  Was it Men without Hats?”

He thought it was Men At Work.

So I tweeted that I was thinking of Men at Work.

But then I tweeted, “You can dance if you wanna,” and I was quickly informed that I was thinking of Men Without Hats.  Which is what I thought in the first place, but every time I tried to picture them, all I could see in my head was the Devo “Whip It” video.

So i tweeted that.

And @prettyalltrue commented on the fact that my mind works like hers…strange connections.

This is not new, people.

In high school?  I would do the same thing, but instead of explaining the transition?  I would just go from us all talking about Spanish class to me saying something like, “My brother used to ride a bright orange bike!”

Forgetting that no one is in my head getting why I just said that.

In college I realized the blessing of these random connections.

I had this Children’s Literature class with a crazy professor who insisted that every week we take a matching test of 40 authors and the kid books they wrote.

every week.  40.  for 16 weeks.  You do the math.

Anyway, everyone always failed them because REALLY?  Everyone except me.  I aced those mother hubbards.

The girl next to me caught wind and asked me in front of everyone the next week how I did it.

“I just make connections.  Connections and flashcards.”

They didn’t get it.

“Ok, so like this guy’s name is Paul Weiserman* and he wrote that book about “Billy Brushes His Teeth.* First I put that on a flash card.  Author on one side, Title on the other.  Then I start thinking.  Paul Newman always had really straight teeth.  That is an easy one.  That is how I would remember that one.  But sometimes they get more complicated.”

(*these are fake.  I am clearly too lazy to look up anything real)

Everyone just stared at me.

When class started?  I was handed another test with an A on it.  They were all there early the following week quizzing me on how I remembered each one so they could use my tactics.

Fast forward to the present day where I am all older and more mature and a teacher of the next generation and stuff.

I am still using my crazy connection skills.

Because I teach English, I am required to teach vocabulary.  We have these orange vocab books that have units in them of 20 words/definitions.

Since we really don’t have time to spend hours and hours working on vocab (and we shouldn’t anyway, these are high schoolers), I usually go through the words with the kids the first day of the new unit.

But instead of just reading the word and definitions, I go through them and talk about how to remember the words and their definitions.

You want an example? Ok…let’s see…ok…last year we had the word “aplomb” meaning poise or assurance.

I told my students that I imagine a PLUMBER.  They have so much assurance in themselves that they just feel cool about their butt cracks hanging out.  He’s got butt crack poise.

This is ridiculous, of course, so no one ever forgets the poised plumber with his plumber crack.

And then there is the word “assuage”.

My students always think it looks like “a sausage” so I go with that.

Since it means to make something milder or to soothe, I tell my students that to assuage my dog* while giving him his heart work pill, I give him a sausage.  An assuaging sausage.

(*I don’t have a dog, duh)

Anyway, these are easy ones.  Some (like the word bona fide) involve me remembering lines from movies (O, Brother Where Art Thou, anyone?  yeah, my students don’t know that line or that movie either).

My logic can get pretty crazy.

Um. wait.  Where was I going with this post?

See…I don’t remember.

You can dance if you want to!


Please tell me I am not the only person who makes weird connections and transitions.

Tell me I am not the only person that while someone is talking you really want to bust in with what you just thought of but realize because it took you 37 connections to get to that thought?  It really doesn’t apply at all.

Please. Tell me I am not the only one.


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About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.


  1. Yay!

    Your brain really does work like mine!

    We are awesome!

    Also crazy.

    But awesome!

  2. I do this too. 9th grade Latin class. Word: hodie = today. How do I still know this, 20 years later? What’s another word for sub sandwiches? Hoagies. Where do they call sub sandwiches “hoagies”? New York. Where is the Today Show filmed? New York. Today=hodie.

  3. Wow, as difficult as it was to keep up with the sidetracks, I am right there with you! (Of course, if there were no sidetracks, this post wouldn’t make much sense… which reminds me…HA!)

    I do this ALL – THE – TIME. I believe they’re called domino thoughts? At any rate they’re annoying as hell when I’m trying to make a point. Luckily I don’t seem to do it as much when writing.

    (And I agree, it’s always nice to know you aren’t the only one!)

  4. ahh that’s so funny. I do things like that all the time. My husband thinks I’m extremely random but really I just have this whole conversation in my mind after he says something then I say one thing out loud that doesn’t make any sense to him. I’m glad I’m not the only one.

  5. No you’re not the only one. I married a weird thought connector. We would be having a conversation about something, he will pause for a few seconds and I will almost see a spark somewhere, and suddenly he’ll be talking about something else, that he just connected. In his head. And because I am a mind reader, I usually figure it out pretty quickly.

    I love weird mind/ thought connectors!

  6. Mariah Meersma says

    YUP! I do the connection thing too! (I was ALWAYS good at vocab, If you don’t remember.) The only negative thing I can say about it still, is the fact that I tend to cut people off during conversations because of it.. Oops! 🙂 Oh and btw, I LOVE ‘O, Brother Where Art Thou”. “He turned him into a Horny Toad!” Haha! I even have the soundtrack on my Ipod!

  7. Love it, Katie. And you. And yes, I do that kind of weird stuff all the time.

  8. I love this post, and my brain does the same things. I sometimes say things to Ryan, and he just shakes his head, because it came from some strange connection that might not even make sense to someone else.

  9. Wow, and I thought it was just me….

  10. No way you’re the only one! No idea how I would’ve made it through college with all my lorrlw brain games.

    My favorite: la piscina is swimming pool. You never piss in a swimming pool.

    My espanol is terrible but la piscina is locked in my mind forever.

  11. That’s how I teach vocab, too, but I have to steal my connections from my students because my brain isn’t as awesome as yours. One of my kids once remembered cumbersome by picturing walking down the hall in a giant cucumber suit. Love it.

  12. Thank you for reassuring me that I’m not crazy. I totally picture “Whip it” when I hear the Safety Dance!

    I definitely make connections that sometimes make no sense at all. But if it works, go with it, right?

  13. I have this problem as well. I always think umm they probably wonder how I switched to this random topic from what we were discussing but it really makes sense to me!

  14. Um…well…as long as it works for you??? 🙂

    I swear there was an Office episode where Michael Scott demonstrates an equally interesting memory tool.

  15. I used to blame it on my zodiac sign, Aquarius being an “AIR” sign meant that I lived way above the practical. I think we’re sisters!!!! LOL

    I tried to explain to John why I had asked him a question last week and when I got back to what made me start thinking about what the question eventually became we were both laughing so hard that I couldn’t talk.

    Oh to answer your question, YES, happens to me all the time. 🙂

  16. I sometimes remind my bf of the BING commercials. (Is that a bad thing? lol) But I should blame and thank my mother. I grew up with her help studying and she taught me those sort of memory tools. They worked and I did great in school, and now I have a memory that connects everything. And yes, half the time I have to explain how something popped into my head! It all makes sense to me. 🙂

  17. I never forget those memory tools–they’re the best! In 10th grade biology I learned to remember “Kingdom, phylum, class, order, genus, species” by remembering the sentence, “King Phillip Called Orders for Green Shoes”. I’m almost 40 and I haven’t forgotten that. Now if only there had been some cool sentence to help me retain my multiplication facts :-).

  18. You’re definitely not alone. I do this too. Was it you who you’d assuage the other day in a post. That was a new word for me. But impressive!

  19. And we are even more similar. You know I teach English too. I do the same things with vocabulary with my students. It was a happy moment when I overheard a student helping her peer remember words and she was telling them about all the connections she makes. Oh and people often look at me strange b/c I randomly say things and they have no clue how I got there. Makes communicating pretty hard. I have to work on that part so much as a teacher…you know when students are staring at you blankly b/c they have no clue what you are trying to say.

  20. My wife’s brain works like this. The problem is that I don’t always follow what she’s doing. We’ll be talking about what we want to do this weekend. I have a lot going on, so we really can’t do anything, and that sucks. But, without missing a beat, she started talking about a friend of mine who got married a few weeks ago.

    The best I can put this:
    – My wife wanted to see Thor
    – Thor will at least reference Iron Man
    – Iron Man had Gwenneth Paltrow in it
    – Gwenneth Paltrow performed with Cee-Lo Green at the Grammies
    – Cee-Lo Green performed the song “Fuck You”
    – “Fuck You” was a song played, as a string-quartet recording, at a friend’s wedding.

    I’ve known her for over 10 years . . . I’m quite proud that I was able to trace this as well as I did.

  21. We are the same.

    And we teach the same vocabulary books.

    And I have taught my kids to assuage their hunger by eating some sausage.

    The end.

  22. My mind works exactly the same way. My husband will say something, I’ll make 82 connections and by that time be on a completely different topic, blurt it out only to have him give me that WTH-are-you-talking-about look. By that time it’s too much work to explain it.

  23. My brain totally works like this, too.

    And even more important?

    Paul Newman’s teeth WERE totally gorgeous. The guy rocked it hard.

    (and now I’m smiling. which is always good. so thanks!)