A dear man I work with recently notified several people that he would be having minor surgery next week and would be “non compost mentis” for a few days thereafter. I have yet to determine if this was intentional (his British sense of humor is wonderfully wicked) or was merely fabulously Freudian. You see, this man is a gardener. And not a mere putterer with petunias, mind you, but the kind of gardener who passionately espouses (and actively promotes) the use of soil blocks.
(If you just opened a new tab to Google “soil blocks,” do not fret that this means you are not a serious gardener. It just means you are not quite as far gone as some of us.)
This same gardener revealed this spring that he had acquired chickens, which announcement was met with surprise by some (“Is that legal?”) and envy by others (me). Understandably besotted with his new feathered friends, he has attributed all mental lapses since then to a condition he calls “chicken brain.” As a fellow alektorophile (someone who loves chickens) I am both sympathetic and jealous. I wish I could have chicken brain!
As for being non compost mentis, I’m not sure whether that’s a good thing or not. In a strictly biological sense, a brain that is composting might well be decomposing. I believe mine has been doing that for some time now, the neural pathways so infrequently used that the rest of me hasn’t gotten the news that I’m actually brain-dead.
On the other hand, composting is a lively, fecund process by which otherwise-useless matter is broken down into its essential elements, which can then be put to some other use. It’s kind of nice to think that my brain might be re-purposed, that it might actually yield something that some other organism could find useful.