Does your ability to stay focused have an expiration date? Are you worried that you may be on the first rungs of dementia or worse?

There is no need to jump to the direst of conclusions. Relax, buy another Grandé sized cup of any Starbuck’s potion of choice and sip away. Be content and know that all is going according to plan and as it should be.

Thanks to the movie “UP”, we have been blessed with a universal term to describe the loss of focus. The word is SQUIRREL. It is appalling to see rational animals applying a word used by a dog in an animated film to diagnose an increasing and troubling malady. How low the mighty have fallen?

We move from Focus to Blurry Focus to Squirrel in a matter of seconds. Is this why most folks have earned the ADD badge? Or is it a disorder better described as Trained Lazy Brain?

The masses receive information via flashing images and sound bites, guiding them how they should feel and what they should think or believe. This process drains the mind’s ability to focus, training it to be less receptive to lengthy pieces of information, whether delivered orally or visually. Slowly but surely the attention span of far too many folks is fast approaching that of a goldfish, which is about three seconds.

For many, the short bursts of images or information are sufficient because it requires minimal effort to focus or think. Life is less complicated when you zone in and out of one thought, rarely lingering longer than the flare of another image-induced distraction.

For example, let us consider how a few seconds of movie trailers are calculated to work. The audience sees a series of images from an upcoming movie. The snippets are designed to entice the viewer and instill a strong desire to see the movie. The ultimate goal is to lure a large number of paying customers back into the movie theaters. Duh!

If the majority of viewers had not succumbed to the extensive “brain drain” training, they would soon pick up on the clues. It should only take a handful of similar experiences to spot the master plan.

For instance, they view the entire “exciting” movie the trailers promised to keep viewers on the edge of their seats. But aside from the few moments found in the trailers, the full-length movie falls flat. The creators of such mindboggling films compensate for the lack of excitement by tossing in a plethora of explosions and car chases that result in the destruction of some fine sports cars.

If you walk out of one too many movies feeling cheated, the reason for your after movie blues is that you realize the trailers showed the best parts. This bit of trickery is most noticeable in comedies. The trailers show the rib-ticklers and the actual movie does not offer a sustained comedy experience. And Gasp and Surprise, there is no plot.

The good news is that the explosions, the car crashes, and the complimentary sex scenes are perfect for the Squirrel folks. If there is something vital to the storyline on the screen that demands your undivided attention, how are you going to get up from your seat for popcorn, drinks, and the obligatory tour of the restroom?

Husbands this long-term brain drain project is the perfect excuse when your female’s smacks you upside the head for not listening to her lengthy rant about work or the kids.

“Sorry, dear. I went to the doctor, and he diagnosed me with Squirrel Syndrome.”

“What’s that?”

“I am unable to focus on a conversation for more than a couple of minutes.”

“Is there a cure?” she asks, concern evident in her voice.

Do not tell her that a piece of duct tape would help if you wish to keep all body parts intact. Just sigh, look sad, and shake your head slowly.


Humor columnist and author, Elizabeth Cowan’s books are available on Visit her Facebook author page:  & website:




%d bloggers like this: