Pine Nuts: A bunch of guys named Josh

A funny thing happened on the way to the forum when Josh Swain was bored out of his mind after dutifully practicing pandemic tactical dispersion for more than a year. This singular guy named Josh challenged all other Joshes in America to fight with pool noodles to establish the greatest Josh of them all. I kid you not. Yes, twenty-two year old Arizonan Josh Swain dared all other Joshes to fight for the right to be called, “JOSH,” challenging all other Joshes with a taunt on twitter, “There can be only one.”

So meet they did on a grassy Nebraska field to duke it out with six-foot Styrofoam noodles, and give new meaning to the word, “Joshing.” But here’s the fun part, all donations raised during this bazaar extravaganza went to the Children’s Hospital there in Lincoln, and the donations are still rolling in, over $11,000 as of this writing.

A thousand or so curious spectators turned out to witness this moshing melee of fifty or so Joshes, and guess who won the right to wear the Josh Coat of Arms? Right, a four year old by the name of Josh of course. All other Joshes must now assume other names.

And here’s an interesting correlation … my constant companion and alter ego, Samuel Clemens, took several pen names before settling on Mark Twain. Here’s how I try to explain how that happened when I’m out pretending to be Mark Twain …

“I didn’t have any luck in the mining fields, I soon enough discovered a silver mine weren’t nothin’ but a hole in the ground with a fool at the bottom and a liar at the top. But I did one thing right, I wrote a letter to the editor of the Territorial Enterprise in Virginia City. It was a burlesque of a Fourth of July speech that George Turner made, Turner was our Chief Justice, and he was out stumping the territory at the time. Turner opened up his throttle valves and began: ‘I was sired by the great American Eagle!’ We’ll draw a curtain of charity over the rest of the speech. I concluded my article by stating, I cannot complete this essay, for the type-cases will have run out of capital ‘I’s.’ I called that letter, ‘Professor Personal Pronoun,’ and signed it, ‘Josh.’ Yes, Josh, I was looking for a nom de guerre, a cognomen, a pen name. Once before I had used E. Paminodas Adrastus Blab, and some time later, Thomas Jefferson Snodgrass, but they didn’t sound right. Yet on the strength of that letter, ‘Professor Personal Pronoun,’ signed Josh, I was offered a job as a reporter for the Territorial Enterprise.”

I suppose if Sam Clemens had stuck with “Josh,” I (McAvoy) might have had to raise my pool noodle and join in the Nebraska fray in an attempt to save Samuel Clemens’s early nom de guerre … “Josh.”

Learn more about McAvoy Layne at

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