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Volume 2 #1 September
I guess a little
old lady with white curly hair and a pointy nose cheerfully
standing barefoot in an airport security check point doesn’t
fit the profile of a terrorist too well, because when I
slipped out of my shoes at the Lufthansa gate on my way
to Munich recently I was sent through quickly and courteously,
with only a couple of surreptitious grins from the guards
when they glanced at my pink toes.
And I got to
thinking that if I were trying to pick inconspicuous terrorists,
that is just the kind of person I would look
for. And then I got to thinking again that it wouldn’t
work because any healthy woman old enough to be white-haired
has also lived long enough to be smart enough and sensible
enough not to be recruitable for missions to kill other
perfectly nice people.
The flight was
to attend an international conference on dyslexia in Munich,
held by the Rodin Remediation Academy.
conferences are always interesting medical ones, with
speakers and attendees from all over the world. So the
swarming with neurologists, neuropsychologists, neurolinguists,
neuro—every thing else you can think of. True, there
was a sprinkling of speakers who did things like comparing
the role of suffixes in English to the radical in a Chinese
ideograph, or showing how the visual cortex in a blind person
compares with that of a seeing person, but by and large,
when they talked specifically about dyslexia, they all sang
the same tune:
The dyslectic reader does not use the left angular gyrus
when he is reading and the normal reader does. Hullo.
Never have I seen as many graphs and network diagrams and
brain-scan photos of the left hemisphere, all with the left
angular gyrus marked to show it wasn’t active. I never
thought I could see too many left brains, but I did. Several
researchers even showed how plastic the brain can be and
how neural networks can be activated with certain manipulations.
But nobody in the whole place had thought to try activating
that angular gyrus.
Those of you who have read Disarming Dyslexia will know
my favorite trick for showing a student how important punctuation
can be. I tell him that with a simple change of one punctuation
mark I can turn him into a cannibal. Then I write:
What are we having for supper tonight, Mother?”
I dramatically erase the comma after “tonight” and
substitute a question mark.
I just heard a couple of doozies for adults that I
Call me, Ishmael.
Damn! The torpedoes! Full speed ahead!