It wouldn’t be a nice thing to say someone is “bird brained” because birds have very small brains. A person with a “bird-brain” is stupid, but a bird with a bird-brain can be very smart: ask any parrot. Parrots can learn to speak any language, showing more ability than a human.
But, in a way, a parrot is “lame brained” and somewhat of a fool because it simply repeats what it has heard, with no thought or purpose. People who are “lame-brained” do the same thing. We can say they “ain’t got the brains God gave a squirrel” and it is quite clear they are “feather brained” or “brain-burned.” A feather is pretty light weight, so you get the picture and if your brain is burned you probably have been on drugs. Before burning it, your brain became “fried” existing intellectually on “brain candy”.
Sometime people, men in particular—but who wants to be sexist—have “all brawn and no brains.” Plenty of muscle but not able to “rack their brain” to find an answer to anything useful, such as a “brain-teaser” or a “brain-twister.” Actually, I wouldn’t want anyone to twist my brain, would you?
Once in France we had scramble eggs with lumps in them, bulges that turned out to be brain. I don’t know where the brain came from—perhaps a bird, but more likely a chicken. I would think that a chicken’s brain is about the size of a pea or, with roosters, a marble. Even giant birds like the ostrich have small brains.
Brain size is supposed to increase with body size and the sperm whale has a brain weighing about 18 lb (8 kg) and the killer whale’s brain weighs in at 12-15 lb (5.4-6.8 kg). Compare that with the elephant at 11 lb (5 kg) and the ostrich whose brain is smaller than either one of its eyeballs.
What about humans? Well, the average human brain is about 3 pounds, similar to a dolphin. It is no wonder dolphins can swim so well and love to jump up in the air and catch fish. Dolphins will beat humans at this every time—but they don’t run so well or like picnics in the sun.
The reason we are so “smart” is because our cerebral hemispheres are big and their function is for memory and communication. Still, the hummingbirds do their migration very well without navigation aids like a GPS. And we can’t hover without a helicopter or similar device.
Did you ever wish you could “brain someone”? Hopefully, not literally, just metaphorically teach them a lesson by hitting them on the head—not hard, just enough to slow down the thinking process.
Sometimes I have something or someone “on my brain” all day and I can’t “get them off my brain.” I don’t know how they got on that 3 pound hunk of tissue, nerves and blood vessels but even if I “pick my brain” I can’t get rid of that item. Sometimes I will get a “brain cramp” and forget them, but that may involve forgetting something really important as well.
Some countries, like India, talk of the “brain drain” when some of their best and brightest leave and go to another country, usually for better jobs and more money. Their bosses may “beat their brains out” trying to figure out how to keep them in India, but to no avail. It doesn’t take a “BB brain” to see a better opportunity elsewhere.
Did you ever wonder who is “the brains behind” all the advertisements we see on TV? It may be an overstatement to suggest there is a “brain box” contributing to them—it more likely be someone with their “brain on a leash,” meaning they act like they are drunk.
The brain and the mind are intertwined: we think with our mind, which often has a “load” on it. A load of what? Is it on just a “piece of our mind” and we can give that part to someone else? They undoubtedly don’t want it because they have “a mind of their own” and don’t want to “be of like mind.” The neat thing is if we don’t want something we can just let it “cross our mind” and go to the other side of our head.
When something extraordinary happens it may “blow our mind” and that will be very different than “blowing our brains out.” It seems the mind (and perhaps brains) are quite pliable because we can “cast our mind back” on to something or “change our mind” about something. It is like putting on a new shirt or pair of shoes.
It is said that “great minds think alike” so either my wife or I do not have a great mind. I tend to think it is me that is of “unsound mind” and of course that will not “boggle your mind.” But how does one boggle a mind? I guess if someone is “boggled” they are surprised or astonished. According to the online etymology dictionary, the word was used as far back as 1600 for “one who hesitates.” So if you boggle my mind I won’t be able to do anything quickly because, according the Oxford dictionary when you boggle me I will “make a sudden jerky movement (as of alarm).” (There is also a game called “Boggle.)
I now have my “brain in gear” that is, I’m trying to think clearly because “an idle brain is the devil’s workshop” and, like Screwtape, he (or she—no sexism intended) may be “racking his brains” to find ways to make me “brain dead.”
My mind is not “made up” yet about all these things although, according to some naturalists, my mind is simply a machine that winds its own springs! However, perhaps such philosophers “minds have been kept in the dark by the evil god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4).