Happy birthday to us! Brains On is celebrating its tenth birthday and we’re throwing a big party. Molly is putting up decorations, Sanden has made his special Super Salty Party Punch and Gungador is ready to dance his pants off! But why is Marc hiding out in a closet?

Join Molly and co-host Olive as they explore what makes parties so fun – and why they make some of us nervous sometimes. Plus a snazzy new Mystery Sound! 

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OLIVE: You're listening to Brains On, where we're serious about being curious.

SUBJECT 1: Brains On is supported in part by a grant from the national science foundation.

SANDEN TOTTEN: Happy birthday to us. Yeah. Happy birthday to us. Yeah. Happy birthday, happy birthday, happy birthday to us. Yeah. Oh, man. I am so excited because it's our big 10th anniversary birthday party for Brains On. Marc, are you ready for the big 10th anniversary birthday party for Brains On?

MARC SANCHEZ: Not yet, Sanden.

SANDEN TOTTEN: Well, I am more than ready. Check out me and Penelope. Matching tuxedos.


MARC SANCHEZ: Wow. So many shiny sequins.

SANDEN TOTTEN: I have my list of party games, which includes, but is not limited to, pin the proton on the atom, giant squid costume contest, guess the flavor of Bob's popsicles, and of course Sanden says. Everybody loves that game, especially Sanden. OK, let's practice. Sanden says, time to get ready for the party.

MARC SANCHEZ: You know what, I just remembered, I'm supposed to clean the bathroom. Yeah. Totally forgot. I need to go do that.

SANDEN TOTTEN: Ah, That's not how you play Sanden says. Sanden said get dressed for the party, and you're supposed to do what Sanden says.

MARC SANCHEZ: I can't get dressed yet because I'm-- all my party shirts are dirty. Yeah. I need to go do the laundry.

MOLLY BLOOM: Hey, guys. All ready for the party?

SANDEN TOTTEN: Sanden says talk like an opera singer.

MOLLY BLOOM: (SINGING) Hey, guys. All ready for the party?

SANDEN TOTTEN: See, Molly knows how to play Sanden says.

MOLLY BLOOM: Oh, I'm excellent at following directions, except when I'm not.

MARC SANCHEZ: You know, I just realized, I need to grease all the door hinges. Oh, and clean out the pinata closet. And I've been meaning to invent edible math. Oh, my gosh. So much to do. I might have to miss the party.

MOLLY BLOOM: What? Marc, you have to come. All of our friends will be there. It's our 10th birthday. It's a big deal. We can't celebrate without you.

MARC SANCHEZ: I'll help get ready for the party by alphabetizing the condiments. Mayo comes before mustard. But after ketchup.

MOLLY BLOOM: Pretty sure Bob already took care of that. Oh, well. Can't be too careful with condiments, I guess.

SANDEN TOTTEN: Sanden says, say it like a pirate.

MOLLY BLOOM: You can't be too careful with condiments, yar.



MOLLY BLOOM: You're listening to Brains On from APM studios. I'm Molly Bloom. And today is Brains On's 10th birthday. Yeah, we've been making the show for 10 years, a full decade. It is wild to celebrate. We're throwing a big bash. And of course, you're invited. The party doesn't start for a bit, so we're still getting ready.


Right on time. It's my co-host Olive from Los Angeles. Hey, Olive.

OLIVE: Hi, Molly.

MOLLY BLOOM: Thank you so much for coming early to help us get ready.

OLIVE: My pleasure. I've been listening to Brains On since I was five years old. I'm psyched to celebrate with you.

MOLLY BLOOM: So I'm curious, Olive. How do you feel about parties?

OLIVE: Well, I like cake, and the presents, and the party in general.

MOLLY BLOOM: So what do you do if you're feeling shy at a party?

OLIVE: I usually don't feel shy at parties. Because if I'm invited, then someone I know and I like.

MOLLY BLOOM: Mmm. So you're not usually at parties where like you're with a bunch of strangers.

OLIVE: Nope.

MOLLY BLOOM: OK. So since you're a person who doesn't get shy at parties, do you have advice for people who may feel shy? Even if they know the people, they're still kind of like, wow, there's a lot of people in one place.

OLIVE: So my advice for people who feel shy at parties is find one person that you know and like, and try to get at least one friend there. Because that will make it a lot more fun if you have someone to hang out with.

MOLLY BLOOM: So maybe just start kind of hanging out with that one person that you feel really comfortable with.


MOLLY BLOOM: And then maybe once the party goes on, you'll start to feel more comfortable.

OLIVE: Yeah.

MOLLY BLOOM: Good advice. What's the favorite birthday party you've ever had?

OLIVE: Well, last year when I turned, I think, 10, I had a cat themed birthday party. And we had cat sushi, which is a rice crispy treat wrapped in fruit leather and a Swedish fish on top. Yum.

MOLLY BLOOM: [LAUGHS] That sounds so good. I love that idea. OK, let's imagine your dream party. You walk in to this amazing dream party. What is in the room?

OLIVE: OK, so my dream party, it's a candy party. So basically, it takes place in this candy house above the clouds. And the walls are made out of cookies. And the couch is made out of cotton candy. And the best part is all of these things, every time you eat a bite, it instantly grows back so you can eat as much as you ever wanted.

So that's where it would take place, and there would be jillions of presents. And everything-- and every time I would open a present, like a mermaid or a a candy corn would come and say, happy birthday, Olive.

MOLLY BLOOM: That sounds amazing. So I have a question. Are the presents also made of candy?

OLIVE: The present wrapping and the bow is made of candy, so you can eat it. But like the present itself is not made of candy because I don't want to eat my own toy.

MOLLY BLOOM: That makes sense. You want to keep the presents.

OLIVE: Yes. But I want to eat the wrapping. Nothing goes to waste here.

MOLLY BLOOM: [LAUGHS] Perfect. I love this party. I hope I can come. You know, all this party talk reminds me of a question that we got from a listener. Olive, can you press that button next to the coffee machine?

OLIVE: This one? Sure.

SUBJECT 2: Why are parties so fun?

MOLLY BLOOM: Great question.

OLIVE: And a great button.

MOLLY BLOOM: Always got to start the day with a question and a coffee, am I right?

OLIVE: I'm more of a smoothie fan, but I'm loving the enthusiasm.

MOLLY BLOOM: Oh, hey. You know who's a real party expert? Sanden. I bet he'd know what makes parties so fun. He's doing snack prep in the lab or kitchen if you want to go ask him about it. I'm just going to put up a few more decorations in here, and then I'll come find you. Oh, and by the way, could you cut some molecule shaped decorations while you're over there?

OLIVE: Sure. On it.

Ba, ba, ba, ba, ba, ba, ba, ba, ba, ba, Brains On.

Hey, Sanden.

SANDEN TOTTEN: Hi, Olive. Glad you're here. I'm making punch for the party. I call it Sanden super salty party punch. You just take all the salty stuff lying around in your kitchen, you know pickle juice, spicy mustard, stale pita chips. Put it in a blender.


Ba, ba, ba, ba, boom! It's ready to go. Check it out. Here, try some.

OLIVE: [SLURPS] Whoa. That's pretty salty and a little gritty.

SANDEN TOTTEN: I know, right? It's like drinking kitty litter, but it won't make me sick this time, I think.


OLIVE: Where's Marc?

SANDEN TOTTEN: Great question. He was supposed to be helping me with snacks. Marc? Marc?

MARC SANCHEZ: Oh, just over here in the corner.

SANDEN TOTTEN: Hey, Marc. Olive just got here to help set up for our epic 10th birthday party. We're going to have a troupe of acrobatic kittens doing tricks. Oh, and a laser light show, and a life sized chocolate volcano, and a squirrel dance party. It's like a regular dance party but with a lot of squirrels running around.

MARC SANCHEZ: That sounds like it might be a bad idea.

SANDEN TOTTEN: Oh, yeah. It's a terrible idea. I can't wait. Plus you won't believe how many friends I invited.

MARC SANCHEZ: Yeah. That all sounds like a lot of fun. But you know what, I just realized I need to go clip my toenails. If I don't clip them, my dancing shoes won't fit. Yeah, that's it. OK, I'll be right back. Bye.


OLIVE: Huh. It's almost like Marc doesn't want to go to the party. Oh, Sanden, speaking of parties, Molly thought you might be able to help answer the question of the day. Why are parties so fun?

SANDEN TOTTEN: I am so glad you asked. I'm the number one party expert, after all. Sadly, scientists haven't studied the science of parties nearly enough. But we do know a few things. First off, people like parties because they're fun. Sure, everyone's a little different in terms of what we like, but the goal of a party is to bring a lot of fun things into one place.

OLIVE: Like music, food, games, and friends.

SANDEN TOTTEN: And salty punts. Exactly. And what makes fun things fun? Well, it all starts in your brain. Whenever we eat something tasty, or spend time with friends, or have a dance party, our brains make these special chemicals.

OLIVE: Oh, yeah. Like dopamine. That's a chemical made in our brains that can make us feel good.

SANDEN TOTTEN: Exactamundo. Your brain is making these chemicals all the time. But it uses more when you're having a good time. And when you feel the effects of these chemicals, it makes you want to do things to get more of them. It's like a big circle. You do something fun, your brain makes a bunch of dopamine, the dopamine makes you feel good, and it makes you want to do that fun thing again.

OLIVE: Makes sense.

SANDEN TOTTEN: Now, imagine you're at a party. Your favorite song is playing. You get a burst of dopamine. And next, you're enjoying a refreshing glass of Sanden super salty party punch, more dopamine. And then you play a game, and you hear a joke, and see a funny outfit. All of it leads to more and more dopamine.

OLIVE: So while you're at a party, your brain is having its own party inside your head. And the guest of honor is dopamine.

SANDEN TOTTEN: Couldn't have said it better myself, Olive. And it doesn't just have to be something fun happening to you right now. Scientists have found that even just imagining a fun event in the future can cause your brain to release dopamine.

OLIVE: Whoa. Really? So even looking forward to a party is fun? That makes sense.

SANDEN TOTTEN: Yeah. Scientists think that this might happen so that we humans do things that might not be fun right now but will lead to fun things down the line.

OLIVE: Like cleaning your living room so you have space to dance with friends.

SANDEN TOTTEN: Or shopping for ingredients so you can bake a cake the next day.

OLIVE: Or cutting out a ton of decorations so your friends will make you feel good by saying, whoa, who cuts out all these amazing decorations?

MOLLY BLOOM: Oh, hey everybody. Whoa. Who cut out all these amazing decorations?

OLIVE: I did.

MOLLY BLOOM: Oh, most excellent. Well, I just blew up 300 balloons for the party, and I'm a little out of breath. But the balloon arch looks spectacular. By the way, I found Marc outside sitting up in a tree. I asked him to come down and help us with the final touches in here.

MARC SANCHEZ: I was up in the tree to not-- not to hide. I was up in the tree to make sure traffic is clear. Sure is a great view of the highway from up there. Smooth sailing for our many, many guests.

MOLLY BLOOM: Oh, good. There's punch. I'm parched. [COUGHS] Is it supposed to be salty?

OLIVE: And gritty.

SANDEN TOTTEN: Can't have a party without punch and games.

MARC SANCHEZ: Oh, hey. I've got a really awesome party game we can play. It's called quiet hang. To play, all you have to do is just sit quietly in a room with a few of your best friends and do whatever you like, reading, listening to music on your headphones, maybe doing some puzzles. It's great.

MOLLY BLOOM: That does sound fun. But I would call that a normal Saturday afternoon. This is our 10th birthday extravaganza. We got to go big.


Oh, looks like our party guests are arriving right now.

RUBY GUTHRIE: Hey, friends.

MOLLY BLOOM: Ruby, Gungador. Wow. I'm loving your sparkly leotard.

GUNGADOR: Leotard for dancing! Ruby Guthrie and Gungador so excited for big birthday party. Can't wait to dance, dance, dance!

RUBY GUTHRIE: OK. But first of all, Ruby Guthrie and Gungador need to stop at the snack table. Oh, is that super salty party punch? That's my favorite.


PARTY-GOER: Oh, Hi, everyone. I brought a fresh batch of Bob's pops to share. I've got salsa pops, pureed squash pops, even tuna pops. It's like dinner and dessert all rolled into one.


PARTY-GOER: Yeah, what's shakin Brains On-ers? Ooh.

PARTY-GOER: Oh, my goodness. Are those salsa popsicles?

PARTY-GOER: Hiya, party animals. Is that Pin the Proton on the atom?

GUNGADOR: Shuffle, boogie!

RUBY GUTHRIE: Go Gungador. Go Gungador.

GUNGADOR: Ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba Brains On. Am I right?

RUBY GUTHRIE: Who decorated?

MARC SANCHEZ: Whoa. So many friends.

SANDEN TOTTEN: Hey, Marc. You look a little sweaty. Oh, is it because you're worried you won't be the most handsome person at the party? Don't worry, buddy. You'll at least be the second most handsome.

MARC SANCHEZ: I just need to go trim my mustache. I'll be right back.

MOLLY BLOOM: Wait, Marc doesn't have a mustache. Huh. I wonder what's gotten into him.

BOB: Maybe it was my pops? I thought for sure he'd love the tuna flavor.

MOLLY BLOOM: I'm sure it wasn't that, Bob. Don't worry. Everyone's really excited to try your tuna pops.

OLIVE: I'm going to go check on Marc.

MOLLY BLOOM: OK. I'll see if I can get Pin the Proton on the Atom going. Holler if you need me.


OLIVE: Marc? Are you in here?

MARC SANCHEZ: Yeah, I really needed a little break.

OLIVE: Whoa. Is this the room where you store all the mystery sounds?

MARC SANCHEZ: Yeah. This is my favorite place in all of Brains On headquarters. Check this out.



Oh, and I love this one.


Cool, right? And that jar to your right, that one's for you. But first, you got to say it's time for the--

OLIVE: It's time for the--


AUDIO TRACK: Mystery sound.

OLIVE: Ooh, so fun.

MARC SANCHEZ: Yeah. It is fun. You want to guess a mystery sound while you're here?

OLIVE: I would love to.

MARC SANCHEZ: OK. Here it is.


OLIVE: Well that sounds like one of those rubber clown noses that it squeezes and then it squeaks really hard. But it also sounds like some sort of instrument. I'm not completely sure.

MARC SANCHEZ: Ooh, I love it. Clown nose or musical instrument. You know, some might even say a clown nose is a musical instrument I'm in that boat myself. Either way, those are great guesses.

OLIVE: We'll hear the answer after the credits, right?

MARC SANCHEZ: Right. And Olive, thanks for hanging out with me here. Parties always make me, I don't know, feel a little kind of--

MOLLY BLOOM: Oh, there you are. Menaka just got here, and she's about to do a sheep shearing demonstration for everyone.

OLIVE: Oh, can't miss that. Want to come, Marc?

MARC SANCHEZ: Oh, sure. I'll be there in just a sec. I just need to tidy up these jars.

OLIVE: OK, don't take long.

MARC SANCHEZ: Yep, I'll be right there.


MOLLY BLOOM: We are working on an episode about memory, and we want to hear from you. Do you ever use a song or a rhyme to help you remember something? We would love to hear it. Olive, do you use a song or rhyme to help you remember something?

OLIVE: Well there's this really annoying song that my classroom absolutely loves. It helps you remember the continents from biggest to small. It's like--

(SINGING) Asia, Africa, North and South America, Antarctica, Europe, and finally, Australia.

And it's so annoying.

MOLLY BLOOM: Why is it annoying?

OLIVE: Because everyone just keeps singing, it and some people in the class are just like--

(SINGING) Asia, Africa.

It's so annoying.

MOLLY BLOOM: So maybe the first time you're like, OK, yeah, this is great. But then you've heard it way too many times.

OLIVE: Yes, exactly.

MOLLY BLOOM: Well, you sounded great singing it, so I enjoyed it. So thank you for sharing it with me.

OLIVE: You're welcome.

MOLLY BLOOM: Even if it is a little annoying to you.


MOLLY BLOOM: So listeners, record yourself singing or reciting your rhyme and send it to us at brains.org/contact. And while you're there, you can send us a mystery sounds, drawings, and questions.

OLIVE: Like this one.

SUBJECT: My question is, why do different flowers have different smells?

MOLLY BLOOM: Again, that's brainson.org/contact.

OLIVE: And keep listening.

You're listening to Brains On. I'm Olive.

MOLLY BLOOM: And I'm Molly. Today's the day of our big Brains On 10th birthday party, and we're talking all about what makes parties so fun.

OLIVE: We just heard how our brains release a little spike of feel good chemicals when we have a tasty snack or listen to music or hang out with friends.

MOLLY BLOOM: And parties have a lot of those fun things all happening at once, so your brain makes a whole bunch of those chemicals to make you feel extra happy, which makes you want to do those fun things again.

MENAKA WILHELM: Molly, Olive? Are you coming? I'm a little worried my sheep are starting to get bored.


OLIVE: Oh yeah, we're coming Menaka.


MARC SANCHEZ: Oh man, oh man. I really don't want to go to this party. It's making me feel all sweaty and nervous just thinking about it. Oh, I've got it. I'll just go hide in one of these empty Brains On headquarters closets.


Everyone's just going to be eating so much cake and playing all the games and doing karaoke. They won't even miss me. Just need to find an empty closet.


Not that one.


(SINGING) Not that one.


Whoa, definitely not that one. Oh, hi, Shahla. Wait, what are you doing here?

SHAHLA FARZAN: Oh hey, Marc. This is my chill out closet. I always come in here before big parties so I can get a little alone time. Sometimes I get shy at parties, you know?

MARC SANCHEZ: You do? I get shy at parties, too. Especially if it's a big group of people or I'm not sure if I'll know anybody there.

SHAHLA FARZAN: Oh, totally. But there's nothing wrong with feeling shy or overwhelmed.

MARC SANCHEZ: Really? Because it's not that I don't love fun. I do. It's just, I don't know, to me, being excited feels like being nervous, you know?

SHAHLA FARZAN: Oh yeah, that's totally normal. I was just talking to Koraly Perez-Edgar about this. She's a developmental psychologist at Penn State University. And she says lots of people like being in smaller groups and doing calm, quiet things, like puzzles or reading. We call these people introverted.

KORALY PEREZ-EDGAR: We often think of people who are introverted as quiet who enjoy peaceful activities, who have their most enjoyment in quiet events. Maybe on their own or maybe with just a couple of people.

SHAHLA FARZAN: Other people are more outgoing. They like hanging out in bigger groups and doing more active higher energy stuff. We call that being extroverted.

KORALY PEREZ-EDGAR: The extroverted person is often thought of the person who is loud and gregarious and social. Right, that they feed off social energy. And when they are alone or they don't have plans, they will make plans.

MARC SANCHEZ: Yeah, some of that sounds familiar. Maybe I'm a more introverted person. I do really like hanging out with a small group of friends or tinkering with my latest inventions in the Brains On lab. Those are the kinds of things that make me feel happy.

SHAHLA FARZAN: Yeah, I think I'm more introverted, too. I mean, I love spending time with my friends, or wild animals. And I especially love spending time with my friends who are wild animals. But sometimes that stuff makes me feel really tired afterwards, like I want to take a really long nap. Koraly says being extroverted or introverted are both totally normal ways of being human.

KORALY PEREZ-EDGAR: One of the misconceptions people have is that they say introverted equals lonely or introverted equals sad. And those are different things. You can be introverted and not be in any way sad or lonely. Because you're behaving in the way you prefer and behaving in the way that makes you feel comfortable. So that if you only hang out with your friends once or twice a week and a lot of the time you're reading, painting, doing quiet activities and that makes you feel good, that's a good thing. That doesn't make you sad or lonely.

MARC SANCHEZ: Yeah, that totally makes sense.

MOLLY BLOOM: I am exhausted. There are a lot of people out there, and I need a break.

MARC SANCHEZ: Oh hey, Molly. You need a break? But it seemed like you were excited for the party.

MOLLY BLOOM: Oh, I am. It is exciting, but also a little tiring. So I thought I'd chill in Shahla's quiet closet for just a little bit.

SHAHLA FARZAN: We were just talking about how Marc and I might both be introverted, because we like spending time in smaller groups doing quieter stuff.

MOLLY BLOOM: Oh cool, I totally get it. Sometimes I like to go to parties and dance my pants off, and other times I like to hang out at home under a cozy blanket and knit. I think of myself as 50% introverted, 50% extroverted, and 100% adorable.

SHAHLA FARZAN: For sure. That's super common. That psychology expert I talked to, Koraly, says it's pretty rare for someone to be introverted all the time or extroverted all the time. It depends a lot on the situation and what you've been doing recently. Like maybe you're an extroverted person who just had a really busy week and you need some quiet time to relax. It doesn't mean you're not extroverted anymore.

MARC SANCHEZ: I do like parties and I love my friends. So why do I feel this way? It doesn't make sense.

SHAHLA FARZAN: Well, Koraly says lots of people get nervous about parties. But especially if they're a little shyer or more introverted.

KORALY PEREZ-EDGAR: For a lot of shy children, it's unpredictability and lack of control. I don't know who's going to be there, I don't know what's going to happen, and I don't know if I can say no. Is it a lot of people? Is it a whole big, busy, noisy crowd? Or is it Chuck E. Cheese or something like that, right? That can make it overwhelming for the shy child.

MARC SANCHEZ: Oh, totally. And I also worry sometimes about what's going to happen once I get to the party. Like, will people put me on the spot and make me do something I don't want to do, like make me sing My Heart Will Go On at karaoke? I can't hit those high notes anymore.

SHAHLA FARZAN: I'm pretty sure I could never hit those high notes, so major props to you. But here's the thing. Koraly says getting a better idea of what's going to happen at a party can help introverted people like us feel a little more comfortable. Sometimes going to smaller parties with people we already know and feel comfortable with can help, too. Oh, and also, giving yourself plenty of time to recharge afterwards is really important, whether you're extroverted or introverted.

MOLLY BLOOM: Totally. After I've been around a lot of people, I definitely need some quiet alone time. Now, where's my blanket and knitting needles?

OLIVE: Oh, there you are. I've been looking for you guys.

MOLLY BLOOM: We were just taking a little recharge break.

OLIVE: Nice.

MARC SANCHEZ: I'm almost ready to head out there.

OLIVE: What if we play a little game, just the four of us? Maybe that will help you warm up a bit.


MOLLY BLOOM: Ooh, ooh, OK. How about Would You Rather?

OLIVE: Oh yeah, I love this game.



MOLLY BLOOM: OK, would you rather be able to visit Mars or journey to the center of the Earth?

OLIVE: Oh, definitely visit Mars. I've always wanted to visit space. Fun fact, Mars has the biggest volcanoes in the whole solar system.

MOLLY BLOOM: That is a fun fact. I think I would choose center of the Earth, because I'm a little afraid of space. Shahla, what about you?

SHAHLA FARZAN: I think I'm going to have to agree with Olive here. I think I'd want to visit Mars even though it seems like a really long trip, because the center of the Earth is just way too hot. And I'm a baby about getting too hot. You get all sweaty, your hair sticks to your forehead. It's just uncomfortable.

MOLLY BLOOM: Good point.

OLIVE: Yeah, me, too.

MOLLY BLOOM: All right, Marc, your turn.

MARC SANCHEZ: Oh, let's see. I think I'm going to choose Earth, because a known quantity. I like gravity and everything. And there's so much to explore. I think going through the layers of the Earth would be so fascinating and cool. I think Mars would be cool, too. And I think maybe we could save that for after maybe we go to the center of the Earth.

MOLLY BLOOM: Ooh, I love that answer, Marc.

OLIVE: OK, my turn. Would you rather have 10 legs or five legs and five arms?

MOLLY BLOOM: Ooh. This is a really good one. OK, 10 legs or five arms and five legs? OK, I'm going to go five arms and five legs, because I could do so much with all those arms at the same time. That's what I'm going to go with. How about you, Shahla?

SHAHLA FARZAN: This is a really hard one. I'm torn, because if I had 10 legs, I could run really, really fast. But if I had five arms and five legs, I could run really fast and also do something else at the same time. I could run a marathon and knit a blanket at the same time, or I could play two guitars while running a marathon. I mean, that'd be pretty awesome. So I'm going to go with five arms and five legs. What about you, Marc?

MARC SANCHEZ: I mean, I'm a fan of symmetry, so with five and five. But I feel like 10 legs might be more useful. I mean, I like to run, so that feels like I could really enhance my my running times with that. So I think I'm going to go with 10 legs.

MOLLY BLOOM: What would you choose, Olive?

OLIVE: I would choose five legs and five arms too, because I would always win in splash fights, water gun fights. Everything, I would always win. And it would be really easy to make a cake, because I love baking.

MOLLY BLOOM: Yeah. Productive and competitive. I love it.

OLIVE: Exactly.

MARC SANCHEZ: OK, I'm next. Would you rather have an amazing sense of smell like a dog, or be able to see super well in the dark like a cat?

OLIVE: I would rather see super well in the dark like a cat. I think it definitely has down sides. It's not that cool, but it's better than having a good sense of smell, because every time you walk past the dumpster or have to clean your cat's litter box, you'd be like, I can't breathe.

MOLLY BLOOM: That is a very fair point. I think I would choose the sense of smell though, because I think I would learn things about people through their different smells and almost be like being able to read their minds. How about you, Shahla? What do you think?

SHAHLA FARZAN: I'd have to pick amazing sense of smell, because can you imagine walking into a bakery and being able to smell every single baked good there individually? You could be like, that's a cinnamon bun, that's a croissant, that's a chocolate frosted cupcake with sprinkles. All of them at the same time. It'd be incredible.

MARC SANCHEZ: OK, I mean, this is a no brainer for me. I'm definitely team dog, too. I'm not really a cat person, and cats make me allergic, so I'd be allergic to myself even though I could see in the dark. So dog all the way. Plus I can't even imagine the things that you could, quote, unquote, "see" with the nose of a dog. It would be mind blowing.

MOLLY BLOOM: Totally agree. Totally agree.

SHAHLA FARZAN: OK, one last one before we head back to the party. Would you rather have teeth made of crystals or hair made of feathers?

MOLLY BLOOM: Oh, this is a tricky one. Marc, why don't you go first?

MARC SANCHEZ: I think I would have teeth made of crystals, because it feels very strong. It feels like crystals would be able to chew through all sorts of things, like even stuff that maybe-- maybe I'd be able to chew through wood and do some woodworking and home projects. Feather hair just seems like it would be too thin. Too wispy. I mean, I have fine hair as it is, so I have feather hair already. So yeah, definitely crystal teeth.

MOLLY BLOOM: Love it. All right, Olive, what would you pick?

OLIVE: I would pick teeth made out of crystals because each flirtarious smile would be so pretty. I would be a great model.


And if I had hair made out of feathers, then they would instantly fall out, and I don't want to be bald.

MOLLY BLOOM: Ah, good point. Shahla, what would you pick?

SHAHLA FARZAN: Yeah, sparkly teeth made out of crystals sound really pretty. But I'm going to have to go with hair made out of feathers, because can you imagine having a bunch of flamingo feathers on the top of your head? You could have the most beautiful bright pink spiky hairdo ever. Or red cardinal feathers. Or actually, no wait, rainbow macaw feathers. You'd be a total style icon.

MOLLY BLOOM: Yeah, I think I'm also going to pick feather hair, because the feathers have some cool things about them. Like I think they help repel water, I think. So I could run through the rain. I could style them in cool ways. If I needed a pen, I could just pick one off my head. I would want colorful ones. I would want some really pretty colorful iridescent feathers. That's what I would want.

MARC SANCHEZ: That was super fun. Thank you. I think I'm ready to socialize. And dance. And eat some cake with my crystal teeth.

SHAHLA FARZAN: OK, sweet. Let's do it. I'm pretty excited now. I think this party is going to be awesome. But if it gets to be too much or you're feeling overwhelmed, just give me a wink or a head nod or something, and I'll help you make a quick exit. Because I've got all the escape routes from every room in this place memorized. Just in case.

OLIVE: Sounds good. Let's go.

AUDIO TRACK: Ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba Brains On.

MOLLY BLOOM: OK, friends. It's time to sing happy birthday to Brains On.

SANDEN TOTTEN: Yes. I've got the cake right here.

OLIVE: Sanden, why are there hundreds of candles? It's only the 10th birthday.

SANDEN TOTTEN: Oh, I know. But 10 just seemed too small. So I put one candle for every day in 10 years. This cake has 3,650 candles.

MARC SANCHEZ: I have serious doubts about us being able to blow all these out, Sanden.

SANDEN TOTTEN: Oh, don't worry. I got that figured out, Marc. We'll get everyone here and everyone at home to help us blow them out. But first, we got to sing.

MOLLY BLOOM: Oh, I am so excited. I love the birthday song. It's such a banger. And we did a whole episode of Forever Ago about it. Did you know it was written by two sisters? One studied music and the other was a teacher. And it didn't start out as a birthday song. It was originally about something totally different.

SANDEN TOTTEN: What was it about?

MOLLY BLOOM: I'm not going to tell you. That would ruin the fun. But go search for Forever Ago where you listen to Brains On, and check it out.

OLIVE: Right. But first, we have to sing.

MOLLY BLOOM: Yes. And the only thing better than the classic birthday song is a new birthday song written by your friends. So let's celebrate with some songs from you, our friends listening right now.

OLIVE: Great idea.


(SINGING) Hurray, hurray, hurray. It's your birthday. Hurray, hurray, hurray. It's your birthday. Blow your candles out. Make your wishes now. Hurray, hurray, hurray. It's your birthday.

Happy, happy birthday to you. You're the best, and that's true.

Happy birthday to you. It's your birthday today. You get the first piece of cake. Happy birthday.

Birthday, birthday, birthday, birthday, birthday, birthday. Dino birthday, birthday, birthday.

Happy flappy, gappy, wrappy dappy birthday to you.

Happy birthday. It's your birthday. Have a good day on your birthday. Make a wish. Make the world blow candles on your cake.

This is your birthday song. It isn't very long. Hey.

It's your birthday. That doesn't happen every day. It doesn't happen every week. It doesn't happen every month. It happens over here. So let's cheer. Everybody is here. Now everybody, let's be happy, happy, happy, happy.

MOLLY BLOOM: Wow, thank you so much to Daphne, Elliott, Hazel, Leona, Kiko, Jimmy, Vernon, Asher, and Pearl for sending in your birthday songs. And now, it's time to blow out the candles. We need everyone's help, especially you listening at home. Ready? Take a deep breath. Make a wish. And blow.


That's it for this episode of Brains On.

OLIVE: This episode was written by Molly Bloom and Shahla Farzan. We had production help from Aron Woldeslassie, Nico Gonzalez-Wisler, Anna Weggel, Rosie Dupont, Anna Goldfield, Ruby Guthrie, and Marc Sanchez.

MOLLY BLOOM: This episode was edited by Sanden Totten, sound design by Rachel Breeze, and we had engineering help from Donald Paz and Josh Savageau. Beth Perlman is our executive producer, and the executives in charge of APM studios are Chandra Kavati, Alex Schaffert, and Joanne Griffith. Special thanks to Eric Wringham, Menaka Wilhelm, Jen Sakai, Nori Sakai, and Kirby the Cat.

OLIVE: Brains On is a non-profit public radio program.

MOLLY BLOOM: There are lots of ways to support the show. Head to brainson.org.

OLIVE: While you're there, you can subscribe to our Smarty Pass, which lets you listen to ad free episodes and other super special bonus content.

MOLLY BLOOM: And you can submit your questions and fan art. All right, Olive, are you ready to hear that mystery sound again?

OLIVE: Yeah.

MOLLY BLOOM: All right, here it is.


So Olive, last time you were thinking a clown nose or an instrument. Do you have any new thoughts?

OLIVE: So now I'm thinking like one of those-- it's like a police siren almost, but not like a [MOCKS SIREN]

So I'm not really sure what it could be. I'm just going to stick with my latest guesses. An instrument-- I have no idea what that instrument could be called. And a clown nose.

MOLLY BLOOM: Yes, I love it. Maybe a musical clown nose. We'll see. Are you ready to hear the answer?

OLIVE: Yes, I'm ready to hear the answer.

MOLLY BLOOM: Here it is.

JENNIFER CHRISTEN: Hi, I'm Jennifer Christen, and I play principal oboe with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. The sound that you just heard was the sound of my oboe reed. I normally make sure that it's playing really well before I put it into my instrument.

MOLLY BLOOM: Look at us. Look at you, you got it right.

OLIVE: Instrument. I didn't know it was an oboe reed, but--

MOLLY BLOOM: Yeah. Do you know what an oboe is?

OLIVE: Oboe? I don't know exactly what it is, but in my books, it looks like a flute-y thing with a little--


OLIVE: --cut off thing.

MOLLY BLOOM: Totally. Yeah, it's usually black and like a long recorder type instrument you blow into. But it has a reed, which is a couple tiny pieces of wood together that when you blow into, it makes that noise.

OLIVE: Yeah.

MOLLY BLOOM: Very good ears, Olive. I can tell you've been listening to our show for a really long time, because your ears are very highly trained.

OLIVE: Thank you.


MOLLY BLOOM: Now it's time for the Brains Honor Roll. These are the kids who keep the show going with their questions, ideas, mystery sounds, drawings, and high fives.


AUDIO TRACK: Brains Honor Roll. High fives.

MOLLY BLOOM: We'll be back next week with more answers to your questions.

OLIVE: Thanks for listening.

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