Oliver Sacks died last weekend, and I suddenly remembered that a few years ago I wrote a parody of his fascinating works describing the remarkable landscapes of the human brain. I've read nearly all of Sacks' books, and they are travel books of the most human kind, travels through our strange minds. I felt a pang of great sadness upon reading of his death. And when I reread this piece, originally published in April 2012, I found that I actually liked it. Which shows you how perverse and unpredictable human consciousness can be. So, from 2012, my insignificant tribute to Dr. Sacks, "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Spitbucket."
Imagine wine critic Tim Foyer’s predicament. He now tastes wine as numbers. Once upon a time he drank wine for the pleasure it gave him, as it gives most humans pleasure.[i] After that, Tim became a critic for a major wine publication where his reviews had the capacity to make or break a winery. His palate was viewed by many consumers as skilled at detecting nuance and quality in wine.[ii] Now a neurological imbalance had Tim’s brain generating only numbers when he tasted wine. He wasn’t enjoying the wines at all. Which might be fine when you consider that a wine critic’s job is to ensure that others get less enjoyment out of wine.[iii] However, Tim’s job was at risk should consumers discover his puzzling brain malfunctions.