Pine Nuts: About the black hole

McAvoy Layne
Pine Nuts

Now that we have a picture of a black hole, and we know Einstein and Hawking were right, that such ominous things do exist, well, now I can be afraid, very, very afraid.

This is not a thing you can climb under the bed to get away from and hide. This is about getting sucked into a hole where not even light can survive, much less a 150-pound weakling.

Maybe this is God’s Dyson Vacuum Cleaner, that only sucks up bad planets and bad people, so Earth and I might be spared, though I doubt it; we’ll probably be first to go …

But at least I don’t have to sweat the small stuff anymore, like stepping into an open manhole and getting flushed out to sea. Little things like the emrods, the botch and the erysipelas are no longer any concern to me. What I worry about now is how long I will have to fly through space without a toothbrush before starting down the throat of what my Hawaiian friend, Tita, calls, “da kine humongous puka.”

I imagine dogs and cats will be the first to go, then unsuspecting humans, then horses, then elephants, until finally the earth itself will begin to feel the undeniable tug of gravity and start to roll toward the abyss.

But being afraid is an exhausting emotion. You can only stay really, really afraid for about a week, then you get tired of being afraid and go back to watching NBA playoff games. Or, if you’re lucky, you might stumble onto an optimistic look at a black hole that will dispel your fear for the moment, like these words from Professor of Physics Brian Green of Columbia University …

“One hundred scientists on four continents using eight telescopes have exposed deep fundamental truths that transcend everything that divides us. That is the real message of this breakthrough.”

There it is! We’re not going to get sucked down that black hole after all, in fact, just seeing a picture of it will scare us into seeing ourselves and all others as the lucky mortals that we are. Thank you for that observation Dr. Green. I can now get back to worrying about the little things, like chapped lips and athlete’s foot.

Did you ever notice, athlete’s never get athlete’s foot. Steph Curry never gets athlete’s foot. Only guys like me, who shuffle through the locker room barefooted, then, remembering a towel, shuffle back through that locker room barefooted, and by the time you shuffle through that locker room a third time, well, there’s your athlete’s foot. And chapped lips? I was born with chapped lips. The first thing I asked for in the delivery room was ChapStick, and it wasn’t two minutes later that my mother asked for a bottle formula dispenser.

Yes, I’m feeling good about life again. I’m going to frame that picture of a black hole and hang it on the wall.

Learn more about McAvoy Layne at

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