My brain injury isn’t a joke

Societally, we’ve seen so many “mild” head injuries portrayed as humorous plot points that we’re numb to taking it seriously.

Off the top of your head, I bet you can think of at least one movie or TV show that portrays a head injury. Probably even more.

How about that scene in Parks and Recreation where Andy Dwyer sneezes while hanging his gold record and smacks his head on the wall? Because it’s Chris Pratt, his visit to the doctor is pretty hilarious.

Screenshot from YouTube.

Dr. Harris: So, Andy, tell me what happened.

Andy: I was reading an encyclopedia and I tripped, or “fell over,” and hit my head, or “brain helmet.”

April: Yeah, he sneezed and smacked his head against the wall.

Dr. Harris: That sounds about right. Well, if it’s a concussion, it’s extremely mild, so I wouldn’t worry about it. Anything else?

Because he clearly perceives Andy to be less intelligent than he is (and Andy is meant to be a dumb but lovable character), Dr. Harris doesn’t take what would normally be weird behavior into account. Andy looks right when asked to look left and vice versa, showing a gap in cognitive function.

Andy’s dialogue is meant to be a joke, but it’s clearly a delusional response under normal circumstances. If this were real, and Andy weren’t prone to saying silly, ignorant things while trying to sound smart, April would be concerned, like, “Um, why are you making up some crazy alternative story to what really happened to you? Do you have memory loss?”

Read the rest on Medium (in case you didn’t already know, I’m pretty passionate about this.) 🙂

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