In an effort of ratiocination, I can qualify certain visual miscomprehensions: The bright sun that was back-lighting this whole experience did diffuse specific details of the hovering bird. I did not see the delicately pointed beak, for instance. But what if I had? I’d have had an even worse nightmare to contend with: a beaked airborne shellfish. The sunlight also washed out the bird’s coloring making it a shadowy pinkish grey, not unlike a shrimp. Finally, having had no previous knowledge or experience of a bird that vibrates its tiny wings at seventy cycles per second, rendering them all but invisible to the human eye, my brain received an image of a curled, fantailed, vertically positioned creature hovering in mid-air without the aid of wings.

“Sure, guv’,” says the brain, “that’s a shrimp that is, seen ‘em before at the seaside.” While my conscious controlling agent, the mind, replies, “But we’re hundreds of miles from an ocean, and shrimp don’t fly !”, the brain, getting shifty now and affecting the persona of Michael Palin in Monty Python’s famous “Dead Parrot Sketch”, slyly replies “Could do. Shrimp are very upwardly mobile, they are, when they want. Besides, beautiful plumage, innit.

Before continuing with my second, thrill-a-minute True-Life Adventure perhaps I should clarify that my continuous distinction between the workings of the brain and the function of the mind is not a mistake, an oversight, nor an heretical challenge to anybody who happens to believe that the mind and the brain are one and the same or, at least, of such similar properties and purpose that they are synonymous. I shall elucidate my personal beliefs and experiential theories in forthcoming volumes of OPUS.

This next anecdote reveals a different side to the nature of mankind when faced with the unknown. Whereas the preceding story illustrates the mental and emotional contortions affected by an apparent impossibility, the following offers guidelines of how to avoid confronting strange realities at all costs.