Tahoe Pine Nuts: Why don’t woodpeckers get concussions? | SierraSun.com

Tahoe Pine Nuts: Why don’t woodpeckers get concussions?

McAvoy Layne
Special to the Sun

There’s a woodpecker in our neighborhood who thinks he is Mighty Joe Young. At six o’clock in the morning he sits the entire precinct up in bed with a hydraulic jackhammer while he rata-tat-tats on a metal rain gutter.

Your first thought is that a utility truck has arrived to break up your driveway, but no, it’s Mighty Joe Young.

So the question is, for which nobody in the neighborhood seems to have an answer, why is he beating his brains out on a rain gutter?

Is he sharpening his beak? Or is he waking the dead because he knows he can, and takes great pride in making a name for himself?

The bigger question is, and this brings us to the subject of this diatribe, why does Mighty Joe Young not suffer a concussion? Were I to strike my nose even once against that rain gutter with the same force, my eyeballs would surely fly out of their sockets.

Were I to strike that same rain gutter 20 times in one second, well, you would find me folded neatly on the driveway below, ready for a quiet ride to Mountain View Mortuary.

So the next bigger question is, why do football players suffer concussions when woodpeckers don’t? I don’t know, and I don’t know anybody who does, and I’ve asked everybody in the laundry room.

Next question … why don’t rams get concussions? They butt heads at the same speed as football players and don’t think anything of it.

You never see a ram, after a good head-butting, go reeling off to the wrong girlfriend, yet football players often go reeling off to the wrong huddle, while gazing absentmindedly through the earhole of their helmet.

Well, I think I have the answer. The Los Angeles Rams were the first NFL team to put an emblem on their helmets, and what do you suppose that emblem was? Ram horns! They should have been real horns, and we wouldn’t be seeing the concussions we’re seeing today.

And those horns should be mounted not on helmets, but on shoulders, so that the helmet never gets hit.

Did any of the Old Norse Vikings wear helmets? No, they wore horns. Did you ever hear of an Old Norse Viking getting a concussion, or even a headache? Neither have I.

Let us take a lesson from the ram and attach real horns to shoulder pads to effectively reduce the number of debilitating concussions. It just might just give new meaning to the Texas term, “Hook ‘em Horns!”

But getting back to Mighty Joe Young, I left a shallow bowl of Woodpecker Wheat Ale out on the deck last night, and caught a glimpse of Mighty Joe Young availing himself of the same.

This morning I heard only two rat-tats on the metal gutter, turned my pillow over, and went peacefully back to sleep.

No, you won’t find Mighty Joe Young dashing his brains out on a rain gutter, not with a Woodpecker Wheat Ale hangover anyway. Mighty Joe Young has taken a walk in the park…

To learn more about McAvoy Layne, visit http://www.ghostoftwain.com.