Pine Nuts: Answering an age-old question

McAvoy Layne
Pine Nuts

Why do men drink, smoke, gamble and watch bare knuckle cage fighting?

Well, I don’t know for sure, but I’m starting to suspect it has something to do with keeping off the bad juju of, “I want to box somebody’s ears.”

Sadly, man was born to fight, and he spends a good deal of his adult life today fending off that ancient instinct, heretofore essential for survival.

Violence used to be the only problem solver. If you caught somebody stealing your goat, well, you gave him a good lesson not to do that again by grabbing his whiskers and head-butting him until he cried, “Kapook!” — or something equivalent.

But the day of grabbing your adversary by the whiskers is sadly gone, markedly gone if your adversary has no whiskers. Welcome the advent of weapons. Some men have more weapons than others. Some countries have more weapons than others, ergo Earth in this 21st century is a complicated and dangerous place in which to live.

As an example, I know enough now when driving in Manhattan, not to shout to the driver of an SUV with Jersey plates and tinted windows who tries to cut me off, “Your mother wears combat boots!” I did that once, and am lucky to be here to tell about it.

The saddest comment, no let’s call it a commentary, I read over the course of this last year came from a retiring Chinese general who stated, “I am only sorry I never got to fight in a war.” That woeful confession is a sign of a much larger malaise.

Women, on the other hand, are not plagued with this curse. Women, by nature, are caregivers and peacemakers, though I would caution against asking a lady who is purchasing Tampax Tampons and Nicoderm Patches just behind you in the “15 Items” line, when you have 20 items, “How’s it going?” I did that once and am lucky to be here to tell about it.

It has been well documented that Eve’s first words to Adam in the Garden of Eden were, “Wow, what a hairy back!” And Adam’s first words to Eve in response were, “You got a problem with that?” I might like to defer to Mark Twain just here as I am wont to do, “Cain is branded as a murderer so heartily and unanimously in America, only because he was neither a Democrat nor a Republican.”

We need to throttle back the negative emotions that are metastasizing within our body politic before the worst instincts of the alpha male rise up to bite us. The possibility of violence taking the stage is simmering just beneath the surface of our daily political discourse.

And it might behoove us to take some of the weapons off the table, starting with nuclear weapons and moving down the killing chain to assault weapons in the hands of certifiably crazy people. We can’t totally eliminate violence as a problem solver, but we can ameliorate the results of that violence by reducing the numbers of weapons of mass destruction.

But let us give the last word to Mark Twain, “These are sardonic times…but I am not sorry to be alive & privileged to look on.”

Learn more about McAvoy Layne at

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