The Wrong Way Brain


I am always going the wrong way. Whether it is on a road, while walking in the city or within certain choices that I make for my own life- I seem to be moving in the wrong direction. I do not know if this is because of an inherent biological disorder, overprotective parents and/or the result of years of lust, drinking and smoking weed. Whatever the case may be- I cannot seem to find the right way. Yesterday while driving in my car, my father said to me, “Son, you are going the wrong way!” “Story of my life,” I sardonically replied. My response pissed my father off. He has been in denial of my wrong turns since the day he set me free.  “Well,” he responded with a palpable frustration, “If you know that you are going the wrong way only an idiot would not try and change directions.” “If only it was that easy,” I replied. “Well then son, maybe you just have a wrong way brain,” he replied. I let him have the last word and we were silent the rest of the way home.

I have been trying to change directions for as long as I can remember. Still I seem to make wrong turns. I often find myself lost in big cities and I end up in places that I should not be. I have spent more time in strip clubs, whore houses and run down bars as a result of making wrong turns than I care to remember. I have found myself in near fatal head on collisions because of my continued inability to realize that I am traveling the wrong way down a one-way street. Recently, I have been getting lost around the neighborhood in which I live. In my attempt to find my way home I often end up further away than where I began. Last week when I found myself completely lost after having gone on an after dinner walk- I ended up in an area where there was a bat and owl nesting ground. The darkness and ominous sounds gave me an anxiety attack and because I did not have my cell phone with me I had to ask a police officer for a ride home. “What are you doing way out here?” he asked me in attempt to find out what was wrong (I was sweating and shaking). All I could say was, “I took a wrong turn somewhere along the way.”

There are no classes offered to learn how to go the right way. Being able to go in the right direction is a skill that one acquires either in birth or over many years of the wrong experience. I would of thought that after thirty-eight years of going the wrong way I would have finally learned how to go the correct way. But the older I get the more complacent I seem to become- and going the wrong way is as simple as being dumb. It takes no thought, but instead it seems to be something that just happens to me. If I ride my bike, drive my car or go for a walk I am most certain to go the wrong way (this is why my wife bought me a GPS system, that I never use, for my birthday) but what bothers me most is that the choices that I make in my own personal life- always take me in the wrong directions.

I have always felt most comfortable, doing the moonwalk. Even though I am sliding backwards when doing the moonwalk- somehow I feel like I am going the right way. There is something comforting about moving backwards. Recently (and not because of Michael Jackson’s death) I have been spending a lot of time around my home doing the moonwalk. In this particular time, where I have found myself unemployed, living in a new town with less than two grand to my name and debt coming out of my ears- I find the moonwalk to be comforting. It is like a meditation for me in which I feel like everything is going to work itself out. Lately, I have been known to do the moonwalk for hours at a time. I slip and slide all around my hard wood floors and take great pleasure in knowing that I am going the wrong way. I especially like to do this after I have had a few drinks. It annoys my wife when I do the moonwalk while drunk (because I knock things off the wall and sometimes I slip and fall and startle her) but I try to help her to understand that when I drink and do the moonwalk- I feel whimsical and free. I feel like everything that has gone wrong is suddenly going right.

It’s not so easy to go in the right direction. After years of collisions, poor choices, mistakes and miserable situations I find it hard to believe that I will ever start taking the right way. As a child my movements where so strictly directed that once I was turned loose on my own as a young man- I had no idea which way to go. Unfortunately, I ended up in situations that did not help me find the right way- but from the times that I have spent in jail or working in a morgue, bagel shop, shoe store, restaurant, adult book store- I have learned one fundamental thing: Taking wrong turns will put an individual in a situation that they could never imagine with their logical mind. It is as if the moment you go the wrong way- you are faced with a series of events that you could of never imagined before. It makes life a bit more interesting and spontaneous to go the wrong way now and then- I just wish I could find a way to stop doing it all the damn time.


  1. Moonwalking whimsical brilliance with that subtle what? ‘wisdom of confusion’ maybe, that so characterises your work these days, Randall. It’s lighter than it was but still uniquely and wonderfully you.

  2. perhaps you are moving in the right direction and everyone else is moving in the wrong direction.

  3. The wisdom of confusion- I like this idea…… cause all I really have to offer is my confusion. I think Jack Kerouac said this.

    ….I also like the idea that just maybe, I may be going in the right direction while everyone else is going the wrong way. Hmmmm…food for thought but thanks for the perspective. I like it.

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