gimcrack\JIM-krak\
noun:a showy object of little use or value

For eight years and counting, my brain has sat on my desk. I am not quite sure where my Uncle Steve got it, and it does have the name of some miscellaneous company on one side. Nevertheless, it looks like a brain should look: it’s grey, spongy, and smooth on the outside. There are quite a few wrinkles on it too. I’m proud of my brain’s sustainability.

In a world of gimcracks, my brain has been, by far, one of the best. Keychains, flashing LED pins, USB ports that look like superheros, and pens in the shape of red lipstick don’t have much of a shelf life. Not this little brain though, it has survived quite a bit of back and forth – college, Delaware, New York. And I imagine that it’ll be right there with me in my next venture after grad school, which I am hoping involves frequent trips to Montreux.

Once my brain was lost for several weeks and, until I caught it under my bed with a dust bunny, I had no idea that it was missing! After that, I always vowed to keep better track of my belongings, especially the ones that are hardly replaceable.

Today, on the subway, I finished Ian Frazier’s article in Aug 30th’s New Yorker about Soviet Stalin-era prison camps. After reading about the desperate plight of the individuals who were confined to these prisons, I learned something new about modern day Russians. They name inanimate objects. They refer to their telephones as “he” or “she,” alarms clocks are affectionately called Aunties, and speed bumps are lezhachii politseiskii, which literally means “lying-down policeman.”

Short of choosing a pet name for my brain, I have decided to now call it надежный, or nadezhnyĭ, which is the Russian word for dependable. Nadi for short.