Apr. 16, 2001: Here is some news that is going to knock your socks off.

A bunch of researchers at Indiana University School of Medicine who had too much time on their hands – and probably too much government money – have made a startling discovery. They have determined through some scientific mumbo-jumbo that men listen with only half their brains, while women use both sides.

Where have these folks been? They could have found out the same thing with a simple phone call to my wife. She would have confirmed that men not only don’t listen, if they are using even half a brain that is the equivalent of full throttle.

My mate is a recognized expert on such matters because she has been conducting her own study on male habits for a number of years and her results cover a wide variety of topics, not even broached by the whizzes in Indiana.

For example, men listen with only half a brain because women only talk to men when (a) they are trying to read the paper, (b) watching Tiger Woods hit a hook shot around a tree and over water to a tiny green to force a playoff or (c) Frank Sinatra is singing “My Way.”

When we do tune in, we find that women only want to talk about the fact that they have nothing to wear on vacation which is eight months away.

My wife’s study has uncovered a number of other fascinating facts about men. For example, no red-blooded male would dare ask directions under any imaginable circumstance. Genetically, we are explorers. We will eventually find the place we are looking for because we can tell from the location of the sun whether we are going east or west, north or south. Women are incapable of such precise reckoning and must resort to either using a road map or making us stop the car to ask a 7-11 clerk. It is the quitter’s way. My wife’s only defense – and it is a weak one – is that we have never, ever been to Macon that we didn’t get totally lost. While that may be true, we have seen parts of Macon that even the natives don’t know exist. That is why guys like Lewis and Clarke were successful. Explorers don’t rely on 7-11’s.

Her study also reveals that men don’t use plates when eating, especially while watching television. We have this innate sense of how long the commercials are going to last and we can make it to the kitchen, fix a sandwich, grab some milk, chips and a few cookies and be back in our seat just as the car commercials fade and John Wayne reappears. This does not allow time to open the cupboard and get a plate. Her study concludes men should eat at the table. My own independent research refutes that. When suddenly seized with a case of the munchies, I can usually reach into the crevices of my chair and pull up a goodly number of peanuts, popcorn or pretzels. It is the same God-given survival technique as squirrels storing nuts for later use. Because she doesn’t watch the nature shows on PBS, this concept is totally lost on her.

Another handicap of having only half a brain is that men can remember how many home runs Hank Aaron hit (755) and the longest consecutive major league hitting streak (Joe DiMaggio hit safely in 56 straight games) and the last man to hit .400 (Ted Williams, .406, 1941), but we can’t remember to wipe our feet when we come in the house or to turn off the lights when we leave the room or Valentine’s Day.

As if women needed any more reasons to feel superior, the Indiana University study showed that because women use their whole brain, they can listen to more than one conversation at the same time. Big deal. What is so great about using your whole brain to listen to two other women talk simultaneously about how their husbands forgot Valentine’s Day?

So maybe we guys are half-brains. That doesn’t bother me at all. While my whole-brain wife is deliberating about what to wear on next year’s vacation, I am going to sit back and watch Tiger hit that magical shot as I munch on the month-old pretzel I found under the seat cushion. I will also be trying desperately to remember where we are going on vacation. If she told me, I guess I wasn’t listening.