Written by Jonathan Wojcik


   Sometimes, I happen upon something so unexpectedly wonderful that it nearly fails to register in my conscious mind. Glancing over the greeting card rack in Target, I know some little voice in my mind kept saying "neat, there's a brain in a jar." I mill around a bit. I look inside a few forgettable cards, just to confirm that yes, they're the same jokes with the same punchlines as last year. Four different cards draw the "politician" and "bloodsucking monster" comparison. It never fails.

"Neat, there's a brain in a jar."

   I scrutinize some unremarkable pumpkin gift bags. I thumb through lenticular Halloween gift cards. At some point, I get glitter on my hands. I consider the $3.99 price sticker on some puffy ghost stickers. As I move on to continue shopping OH SHIT THERE'S A BRAIN IN A JAR WITH GOOGLY EYES AND IT SAYS 'MAKE ME SING" ON IT. GIMME GIMME GIMME.

   That voice. That is the voice of a pickled angel. The only thing more heavenly is the rattling of its internal mechanism, virtually drowning out the sound clip's background music. It's a thing of beauty. It's nearly eight dollars, for a card I'm only giving to myself, but I'd have probably paid twice that. My mind is haunted even now by visions of these rare treasures buried deep in junk drawers, or worse, thrown away with common garbage as some other, nameless holiday muscles its way in. Not this one, I say to nobody. On this day, this singing cardboard brain has a home. A home where it can stare down visitors every day of the year. A home that will love it when its batteries have long decayed.

   The inside of the card wishes us a "jar full of fun," which is nice, but also kind of taunting, because the card already showed us what a jar full of fun looks like. Like a jar with a brain in it. There lies my solitary grievance - that this will only ever be a greeting card. I would kill to have this in a decorative figurine or animatronic prop. Literally. I would end a life. Not necessarily a human life, because you get yelled at for that. Definitely not some adorable tiny insect's life, or even one of the lesser animals. I might end some sort of ficus, if nobody loved it anymore, though I'd probably feel really bad about that. Maybe a throat infection.

Yes, I would definitely assassinate some streptococcus for a rubber brain that sings about formaldehyde.

   I might be one of the few people who buys greeting cards as collectibles, to give to no-one, but I don't think you understand how special this one is to me. A living, singing human brain in a jar is like the very first thing I'd ask a genie to grant me, and even if he were one of those evil, ironic genies and made it my brain in the jar, I'd have no complaints. In fact, I wouldn't put it past myself to make that a special request.