what did you say?

Anesthesia has been around for a long time, thank god. It has made modern medicine possible. Surgery was not readily accomplished before the patient could be knocked, and REALLY knocked out. This podcast brought to my attention a new discovery regarding the old practice of anesthesia.

It seems that the drugs used to knock people out sends a wave through the brain. The very slow wave resets the brain, not to kill all conscious activity, but to slow it down to the time of the wave. The parts of the brain that are sending activity messages go dormant when the other parts wake up. It’s not that messages aren’t being sent, it’s that the messages aren’t being received.

Ever hear of the three-way handshake? This is an important concept to me. It is the concept that the Internet is pretty much based on. It goes like this:

One computer says to another “Hey, I want to talk to you.”

The other computer says, “I acknowledge that you want to talk to me, and I want to synchronize with you.”

The first computer responds with “I acknowledge your synchronization.”

And after that three-way handshake they are talking and you can watch that cat video.

The handshake does not always complete. There are a lot of reasons they can’t always get through that synchronization.  Mostly, because one or the other side isn’t listening.

Like our brain on anesthesia.

Or like every argument ever.

In my life, I have often had something I wanted to say SO BAD that I couldn’t hear what anyone was saying to be. I have been to tightly wound that my message was the only one I could hear. The other party may have had something super important to tell me and I had no channel open to hear them.

For all intents and purposes, I would have been better off talking to a photograph of the person to whom I so desperately needed to speak.  Most of the time, the person I was talking to didn’t understand the importance of what I was trying to say at all.

Then again, how would I know? I wasn’t listening to them as I had my torrent of words to say.

It seems awkward and overly complicated for computers to go through the whole three steps. Why not just start talking?

I have some friends who are like that. We can leap in wherever whenever and understand one another right away.


Those friends are rare and precious. Not everybody is like that. Which is why  I need to slow down and keep my listening channels clean.



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