I am watching what seems to be a strange trial. I see two figures, one clad in awhite gown with sharply-edged, geometric trim (also in white), and the otherdraped in a flowing, gauzy rose gown standing before a judge. Then I hear theperson in white speak.
Your Honor, I am the attorney representing MissJennifer Driver's left brain, the logical, analytical side, while my colleaguerepresents her right brain, the aesthetic, feeling side. We are here to debatewhich side should be dominant in Miss Driver. Clearly, Your Honor, as we proceed,you will see that her left brain deserves to be in charge. Logic demands it.Consider the following: All her life, Miss Driver has delighted in math, aleft-brain subject. From an early age, she loved to solve jigsaw puzzles and, infact, completed several challenging 500-piece puzzles that her proud parentsglued together and framed. And, Your Honor, please think about Miss Driver'spropensity for driving to the heart of a calculus problem, and the ensuing rushshe experiences on reaching her solution. Note her fascination as she observes aclimactic "torque" physics lab. Then, watch her eyes light up as sheplunks down a contending Scrabble word.
"Please do consider, YourHonor, the importance of Miss Driver's left brain in arenas outside thoseassociated with academic learning. Take, for example, Christmas Day in the Driverhome. The gifts have been opened, and the do-it-yourself assembly kits remainuntouched on the living room floor. Mom, Dad, Sister and Brother becomepreoccupied with their new books, CDs and "Did You Know" factcalendars. Who do you suppose happily sits down with these kits, reads theircryptic directions, and figures out how to put together what is supposed to be aCD rack or a multi-purpose display case on wheels?
"The world todayis one in which left-brain technology rules. There is no question that MissDriver needs to have this part of her brain dominate if she is to be a keyparticipant in the world of the twenty-first century. Thank you. I rest mycase."
Next, I hear the judge request that the attorney representingmy right brain present her position. I watch as the person in the flowing rosegown steps forward.
"Your Honor, I am sure that the views presentedfor left-brain dominance in Miss Jennifer Driver are valid - as far as they go -but unfortunately they miss the essence of Miss Driver - her joy in the creativeprocess and in helping others. Art, both visual and performance, has always helda place in her heart. Her charcoal drawings and brick-colored pottery adorn herhome. Then there is the framed black and white photograph of a windsweptcornfield in Wisconsin that convinced her predominantly left-brained brother thateven corn is beautiful. Miss Driver's passionate commitment to dance has alsobeen a major focus in her life. Watch as she performs at a ballet recital aVivaldi pas de deux finale, or how in her modern dance solo, accompanied by themusic of Natalie Imbruglia, she interprets a young woman's encounter with thecity through turns, leaps and gestures.
"And, if you will, please humor sing along with me: 'Put your right foot in, put your right foot out, put yourright foot in, and shake it all about ... Now do the Hokey Pokey ...' Let us notunderestimate the significance of the 'Hokey Pokey' and 'Rock Around the Clock,'the tunes Miss Driver introduced to 17 four-year-olds she met through theAssistance League of Southern California. She developed a cognitive skills/danceprogram, taught it, and documented each child's progress in learning shape anddirectionality skills. Your Honor, this undertaking was the work of the rightbrain! Please consider that while her left brain may help her achieve her goals,it is her right brain that determines what goals she values. Thankyou."
I feel the silence envelop the court. The minutes pass slowly.Finally, the judge reaches her verdict.
"It is understandable thatthe two of you are at odds. You are both right and wrong. Miss Driver's logicaland analytical left brain not only helps her succeed, but also plays a role inplanning the direction of her future. Her right brain's love of creativity andcompassionate regard for others not only defines the values she places on hergoals, but also empowers her. It is this court's opinion that both the left andright sides of the brain are of equal importance to Miss Driver. Neither the leftnor the right brain shall dominate."
I hear the resounding crash of agavel at the same time that my alarm clock blasts me out of bed. I sit back on mybed and gingerly rub my head; it is intact. Left-brain or right-brain dominance?Was that what I was dreaming about? My mind, I think to myself, is a place forboth left- and right-brain thinking. And, if tallies were to be made, it would bea blessed tie. -
Editor's Note: Jennifer now attends Brown University,making this a successful essay!
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.