2014: The year of evoked potential

In medicine, evoked potential is “an electrical (response) recorded from the nervous system … following presentation of a stimulus.”

A practical example: you have a seizure, your neurologist gets oddly enthusiastic about replicating the experience, and next thing you know you’re hooked up to an EEG with a bunch of lights being flashed in your eyes at ever-more-annoying intervals.

Spending the next three days washing adhesive out of your hair is the most pleasant part of the experience, is what I’m getting at.

Though the actual thing is a (clinically necessary) pain in the ass, I’ve always loved the lexical thing: evoked potential. It speaks to something that is present but sequestered, something known to some but not to all, a latent capability that can come to life given a very specific set of circumstances.

That was my 2014.

Much less amazing (to me) than anything I actually accomplished is the fact that there exist in the world people who are able to perceive, beneath whatever combination of invincibility and insecurity we adopt as daily habit, something worth a second look. Couple that simple act of noticing with a desire to help – or maybe a desire to be helped, or who knows what – and next thing you know, potential is being evoked all over the place.

I’m not big on resolutions, as you know. Nor gratitude, as you also know.

But I know that my year would have been measurably less exciting, chaotic, challenging and fun had others not evoked, had potential not existed in the first place.

I am thankful for those people and I would like to be one of those people. That’s about as close as I’m likely to get to a resolution.

2014 has given me many things, among them the tummy-level suspicion that if we’ve been put here to do anything vis-à-vis our fellow human beings, evoking potential is probably as good as it gets.

So let’s go out and do that, shall we?

“We solved a problem, problem solved.”

Before we even made it to the park we decided to stop for a late lunch at the Customary Spot on Main Street, Penetanguishene.  I ate enough food for three people because that’s what they serve you on Main Street, Penetanguishene.  No complaints.

pair_of_pillowsWhile eating, it occurred to me that I didn’t pack any pillows.  They were on P’s list, which I’d composed, but they were included in the part of the list that was written on the back.  I’m not sure that P knew there was a back involved.  I’d included a descriptive/instructional/fairly pretty arrow indicating such, but on the plenty-of-time-to-navigate-cryptic-lists  to do-we-really-HAVE-to-feed-the-kids-breakfast-shitshow spectrum, we veered pretty hard toward shitshow.

“Can’t we just improvise for one night?” he asked.

And so we did, by driving one town over to the WalMart, where we spent $80.00 on sunscreen, a BBQ lighter and three pillows for four heads.


This is the second installment in the 2014 edition of Yelling At Kids In Nature.  Read ’em all here.

If you think I’m talking about you here, yeah, you’re probably right.

If you think I’m talking about you here, yeah, you’re probably right.