Just before brain surgery on his blonde patient, Dr. McCoy of the Star Ship Enterprise says to his assistant, “Space, the final frontier…

If I open her skull and you feel a rush of air, don't worry. She's blonde. It's normal.

Unlike the Scarecrow, I knew I had a brain. I saw pictures of it on multiple MRI scan and felt it bouncing around every waking minute. I also knew I was lacking in the common sense department, but that me uncommon, not dumb. None of the Dumb Blonde joke applied to me, except “temporarily speechless” is what you mean by “dumb.” I was that Dumb Blonde a lot in my life, but especially during the weeks that led up to my brain surgery.

Uh. Um. Er. Huh. Whoo. Puh. Okay. I think I'm done here.

I had lobbied strenuously for another full-time sociologist at the college for years, since I was the only one. Most sociology classes were taught by part-time faculty who didn’t have advanced degrees in sociology, but in “related” fields. It was hard enough for trained sociologists to teach the discipline well, let alone people who avoided it as their major. While I was planning my funeral arranging for service-dog training worrying about my future, my “colleagues” hired a non-sociologist sociologist without my approval. I was a Dumb Blonde when I found out they did something so integral to my professional work and standards—even more so when I learned their maneuvering was unprecedented and irreversible. They said they knew I had a lot on my mind and didn’t want to bother me with another decision. How kindly paternalistic of this mostly female division.

Everyone knows sociology is just common sense and anyone can teach it, so we just decided that one of us is as qualified as you. Don't we look like we all have a lot of common sense and social skills?

The next Dumb Blonde moment was quite ironic. I was sitting in my hairdresser’s chair watching her shave all my blonde hair off. One of the pre-op instructions was to shave the left side of my head. Did people really shave only half of their head? I was in my late 40s and not looking to make any social, political, or personal statements with my appearance. I knew I didn’t have the charisma to start a fashion trend, so I decided no hair was better than half-hair. My hair was a bit longer than it is now. As I watched each blonde clump fall to the floor, my Dumbness got deeper. My hairdresser kept chatting about how fast it would grow back and others in the shop kept silent, their glances brief, but frequent. I pasted a thin smile on my oval head, hugged her, and left. She didn’t charge me. When I got into my car and locked the doors, I sobbed for ten minutes. Never underestimate how attached a woman can get to her hair.

Yeah. No. She couldn't even pull the half-hair look off.

Chuck and Alex kept the vehicle alive with conversation during the trip to Boston. When they talked, I rarely got a word in on my best days, but I was grateful to be silent on that trip. Being a Dumb Blonde was okay be me. Since we arrived the night before the surgery, we went out for a meal. I referred to it as “The Last Supper.” No matter what the outcome of the surgery, I was never going to be the same again. That night, I said “goodbye” to Alex like it was really good-bye. He wouldn’t see me until after surgery and I didn’t know if there would be an “after surgery” or what condition I’d be in. I tried to talk Chuck into taking me back home. I didn’t want anyone messing with my brain that served me so well. We held each other and cried like babies. But we stayed.

I was Stepford Wife Dumb Blonde the entire time I was being prepared for surgery. The only sign that I had any emotion at all was that I couldn’t stop shaking. No matter how many layers of blankets they put on me, I trembled like I was having a 8.9 earthquake inside me. I really hoped my body would stop shaking with the knock-out drugs, either that, or this neurosurgeon had really good aim.

Uh oh. See. I knew I'd never be the same. Blondes, not brunettes have more fun. Does she look like she's having fun?

Rolling me into the surgical theater was surreal. I could see eager students in the glassed-in area above drooling to see my head drilled. I watched as they attached all manner of sticky things to monitor all manner of important things. Then I heard someone rev up a chainsaw drill. I nearly jumped off the metal table and had such tremors that my rat-a-tat-tat of bone on metal drowned out the zzzzuuuunnnn-zzzzuuuunnnn of the drill. Mercifully, the  anesthesiologist did his thing and I was gone in a matter of seconds.

Don't worry, Larry, oh, um, sorry, wrong patient---Lorna. I'm going to just check my state-of-the-art brain-o-meter thingy one more time before someone checks my make-up and I drill into that skull of yours. I'm the best in the business when it comes to following the script and operating power tools.

What did they find in that brain that has served Lorna so well?