Tahoe Pine Nuts: How to go from pre-med to auctioneer | SierraSun.com

Tahoe Pine Nuts: How to go from pre-med to auctioneer

McAvoy Layne
Special to the Bonanza

Have you ever seen a sick housefly? Neither have I. They always take off with gusto, land on a slice of tenderloin, and take off again with a better on-time record than Southwest.

We study the human immune system with great enthusiasm, when we ought rightly be studying the immune system of the common housefly.

Well look at it, they subsist on the most objectionable offal imaginable, and never call in sick. All we need do is sequence and map the genome of the housefly and we will all be living to see 100.

I know whereof I speak as I had a semester of pre-med at the University of California at Eugene. (In full disclosure, they send me mail all the time asking for donations. I tell them for the education I got, they owe me money.)

But getting back to the subject at hand, next, after the housefly, we should tackle the horsefly. Have you ever been bitten by a horsefly? I have. It hurts like hell. They have teeth like Julia Roberts. I’m not kidding, a horsefly bite will bring you right out of your Tony Lama boots.

I know because I was about to get a kiss on the lips one moonlit night out on the Nevada high desert many moons ago, when I got a horsefly bite on the neck and let out a yelp that broke the spell and ruined the entire evening and the summer.

So you might be wondering how else one semester of pre-med might have enlightened me. Well, I was elected to be the urine specimen for our biology class and got to swill down a full pint of Olympia beer to insure a full beaker.

One exemplary student asked me for my autograph and suggested that they engrave my name over the door of the biology lab. I have not checked to see if they actually did that, but am confident “The Layne Biology Lab” is standing tall today.

What else did I learn in pre-med that I might like to pass along to the next generation? Well, I learned that the Gingko Tree is the only tree that reproduces sexually.

Why that fact adhered to my 18 year old brain at the time, and remains stuck there a half century later, is one of the mysteries of life.

But it’s true, they do! I have never personally seen them do it, but I’ve been told by a reliable source at Sierra Nevada College that Gingkos are still doing it today, and with the same fruitful results.

If you want to FactCheck me on that, please do, as I find it hard to believe myself.

As it happened, my first report card from the University of California at Eugene came personalized with a hand-written note from the Dean:

“Mr. Layne, These grades indicate that you are not ‘equipped’ for medical school, but from what your instructors tell me about your conduct in the classroom, perhaps you should consider changing your major, and start studying to become an auctioneer.”

To learn more about McAvoy Layne, who’s spent many of his years at Lake Tahoe impersonating Mark Twain, visit http://www.ghostoftwain.com.

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