Swapping Minds

by James Laughlin

James Laughlin

Melissa and I were sitting
by the little lake in Green
Park in London playing
“swapping minds.” It’s an
old game that came down from
the Lowlands. It was a fine
day so we had brought
a little picnic. Melissa
makes wonderful pâté, as
good as anything from Fortnum
& Masson. Yummy. And we had
a half bottle of Chardonnay
between us.

Here is how the game of
“swapping minds” goes. It’s
not a child’s game, it’s
very intellectual, or should
I say psychological. Just
imagine Melissa and I are
talking. She says something
to me, “James why are you
always so arrogant?” But,
obviously that’s not what
she is thinking. To answer
her I must try to imagine
what she was thinking when
she asked that. I must swap
minds with her.
I ventured the following:
“Melissa, you have the most
lovely white skin in England,
you must be careful
not to get sunburned.

Melissa: “James, why do you
pretend you are Scots when
you’re really of Irish descent?”

James: “Melissa, are you
remembering the handsome
Russian boy you met in the
Hermitage on your trip to
Russia and he took you to have
an ice cream with him?”

Melissa: “James, did the
other boys in school tease
you because you were so bad
at games?”

James: “Do you really love
me or are you just flirting?”

Melissa: “I’m sorry, James,
but the response is in your
mind, not in mine.”

That was the end of the
“swapping game” for that
day, and such a happy day
it was, there in Green Park,
watching the ducks on the

Last updated November 02, 2022