We all have those brain fart moments, when we just can’t remember the name of something we use all the time. Now, imagine if rather than pointing at the TV remote control and saying “Pass the thingy”, you were in a professional setting and had to come up with a name instantly. That’s the situation physicist Paul Coxon found himself in, and he shared the embarrassing details on Twitter.
Hello my name is Paul, I have a PhD in physics and thanks to a random brain freeze forgot the word for photon so had to call it a “shiny crumb” in front of my colleagues 😐
— Paul Coxon (@paulcoxon) February 18, 2019
Inspired by Paul’s amusing honesty, Twitter users replied with their own awkward anecdotes and it’s an unmissable thread. Here are our favourites.
Me: “OK, he’s still working really hard to breathe despite the oxygen we’re giving. He needs the blowy mask thing.”
Nurse: “You mean CPAP Dr Lee?”
Me: “😓 yes” https://t.co/qhsAlYH4Ls
— Dr Philip Lee (@drphiliplee1) February 18, 2019
I am Diana, I have a degree in maths, a master in engineering and I am doing a Phd in computer science, once in a conference forgot how to say 18 in English so I said “twenty minus two”. https://t.co/ijtvMAVp6k
— DianaLorena (@diagiraldo) February 19, 2019
In Canada, it isn’t uncommon to give bilingual academic talks.
I blanked on landslides (glissements de terrain, ‘slipping of the ground’) & called them potatoes (pomme de terre, ‘apples of the Earth’).
For the record: landslides are not edible. https://t.co/hS5Uw66h3O
— Mika McKinnon (@mikamckinnon) February 18, 2019
Hello my name is Jess, I am a geologist and thanks to an odd brain conflagration “Love waves” (earthquakes) disappeared from memory & I called them “snakey sidewinder waves” in front of a group of students. 🤦 https://t.co/MdYehOM3Vc
— Jess Phoenix 🌋 (@jessphoenix2018) February 18, 2019
During a lecture on the Mannheim Orchestra, I couldn’t remember the term “tremolo,” so I described the orchestra’s fondness for decorating passages with the “nervous chihuahua” effect.
— The Manga Critic (@manga_critic) February 19, 2019
Hello, I am a librarian and thanks to a random brain freeze I forgot the word for book and said to a new patron – multiple times – “we have a diverse selection of thingies.”
— Beth Dunston (@DunsLibrarian) February 19, 2019
@trentmkays I had a similar brain cramp once introducing a keynote at a literature conference. Tripped myself up on whether to say “colleagues” or “scholars”…
So I said “scholeagues.” ¯_(ツ)_/¯
— Joe Fruscione (@Joe_Fru) February 18, 2019
I forgot the word ‘articulate’ in an interview for a voluntary post and instead said ‘I’m good at saying things’. I am a criminal barrister
— Kathy Hirst (@kathy_hirst) February 18, 2019
Hello my name is Sue. I have a PhD and a career in landscape archaeology and thanks to a random brain freeze forgot the word for trowel so had to describe it as ‘a digging implement’ to an archaeologist colleague
— Prof Susan Oosthuizen (@DrSueOosthuizen) February 18, 2019
I’m a maths teacher and in a conversation with the assistant head, I could not recall the term “improper fraction” and I called it an “inappropriate fraction” instead.
— Vicki Ware (@MrsWareMaths) February 18, 2019
Once in class I was teaching forces and motion and couldn’t remember the word “rocket”. Out of my mouth came “space machine”. Then I looked at the class and said “That’s right, space machine”.
— Dr. Dawn Wiseman (@ScienceDawn) February 19, 2019
I recently forgot the name of the Uncharted game series and had to call it “Tombraider for boys”. I’m a senior academic in games, and coincidentally, half way through a PhD in same.
— Kaye Elling (@K_0) February 18, 2019