Phineas Gaged

It’s thanks to Phineas Gage that we understand today that the frontal lobe is the area of the brain where our personality is housed to a large degree. A railway worker, Gage was just 25 years old in 1848 when a blasting accident sent a 1.5-inch thick tamping rod through his left cheek and through the top of his head. Incredibly, he survived… but acquaintances would remark afterward that his personality was profoundly changed. The previously smart and well-balanced Gage reportedly became a foul-mouthed, ill-tempered asshole.

A photo of what is presumed to be Phineas Gage, holding the iron tamping rod that was blasted through his left cheek and out the top of his head. Image attribution: Based on original photograph from the collection of Jack and Beverly Wilgus. (Image based on original photograph from the collection of Jack and Beverly Wilgus.)

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He laughs and a little bit of light comes in
And it shoots straight out of his eye.
His friends, they hardly recognized him,
And after a while, they wouldn’t even try.

By all accounts he was deceased.
But when he stood up his odds increased…
Memory’s intact, but everything’s changed.
You think things were bad before….

Now you’re Phineas Gaged.

You think you’re handy with that spike of yours,
But you know it leads to whisky and whores.
I see it coming for my face.
What a fine spring day to be erased…

And written again
This time not caring.
Written again
This time angry and mean.
Written again
This time swearing.
Not sweet anymore.
Not innocent.
Phineas Gaged.

©little hexes