The dress, Oliver Sacks, and more writing from Elizabeth

The results of the poll in my last post are, at this point in time, 42.3% for blue, 42.3% for white, and 15.3% for other.

In my family, I see blue, both my kids see blue, and Ben sees white. It’s quite funny because the kids are now concerned about Ben’s eye-sight and have been asking him what colour various other objects around the house are. I probably didn’t help the situation by telling them that Ben sees white because his eyes are old and not working so well any more 🙂

The dress drama reminds me of a book I read and thoroughly enjoyed, The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat, by Oliver Sacks. The book is written as a series of case studies, one of which I wrote about before. The case of the man and his wife starts like this:

Sometimes a student would present himself, and Dr P. would not recognise him; or, specifically, would not recognise his face. The moment the student spoke, he would be recognised by his voice. Such incidents multiplied, causing embarrassment, perplexity, fear – and, sometimes, comedy. For not only did Dr P. increasingly fail to see faces, but he saw faces when there were no faces to see: genially, Magoo-like, when in the street, he might pat the heads of water-hydrants and parking-meters, taking these to be the heads of children; he would amiably address carved knobs on the furniture, and be astounded when they did not reply.

This week I was very sad to read that Oliver Sacks has terminal cancer. He wrote about it in a moving piece for the NY Times My Own Life. I smiled when I read how he describes himself, “I am a man of vehement disposition, with violent enthusiasms, and extreme immoderation in all my passions.” The world will lose an extraordinary mind and a thoughtful and caring human when he dies. Everyone should read The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat as it fosters an understanding of neurological conditions which are in many ways swept under the carpet by our society. We are not very accepting of people who say they hear voices or who see things which we cannot and rather than trying to understand the neurological causes, most people will simply assume these people are nuts. On a more visceral level, the book left me questioning what we are. Are we just a bunch of synapses and chemicals sending messages inside a skull? It’s a fascinating read for many reasons.

Elizabeth did some more writing today and I thought I’d share it. This is a recipe for a special type of chocolate cake which she has made up.



3 Bananas
1 jelly
5 chocolate
2 eggs
4 gummy bears
1 candy cane