Pine Nuts: Great Basin College student preordained to be president |

Pine Nuts: Great Basin College student preordained to be president

McAvoy Layne

On Friday I had a chance to get acquainted with some Great Basin College kids in Elko. These are some exemplary students, and they gave me unshakeable faith in the next generation.

Having been dropping into our schools as the Ghost of Mark Twain for the past 27 years, I feel we hit rock bottom about 15 years ago and have been on the rise ever since. So I’m wild about the class of 2018.

Today’s college students are starting to ask what President John F. Kennedy prompted us to ask so many years ago, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

The high school and college kids I see today are polite, and they seem to embrace the three cees: Civility, conversation and compromise. Most importantly, they have a lighter, more humorous outlook on life.

“I guess if Ritalin had been on the market back in your day, Mr. Twain, Tom and Huck never would have had any adventures,” one student said. I also heard, “If all we need for success in this life is ignorance and confidence, then what does that say about our tuition?”

I was asked about Nikola Tesla, and, at least this time, I had an answer.

“Tesla had the best mind of our age, including Edison,” I ventured. “He developed plans for a charged particle weapons system that could destroy an entire fleet of fighter planes or battleships in an instant. Just the news of our being in possession of such a weapon would be a dynamic deterrent to waging war. Never fully actualized, Tesla’s plans for that weapon remain classified today.

“Along with providing us with alternating current, Tesla invented an oscillating platform that, when stood upon, would create a sensation of well-being that could be carried over into the next day. As I stood upon that platform I experienced a sensation of effervescence like nothing I had known before. When Tesla told me that I had better come down I shouted, ‘Not by a jugful, Nikola, I’m having the time of my life!’ What Tesla had failed to tell me was that his oscillator also acted as a laxative, and I soon felt my lips pursing as I lurched from the oscillator in search of the men’s room.”

I had to mention how proud I was that Nevada had landed the Tesla Gigafactory and expressed my hope that they would all be driving Teslas in the near future.

Toward the end of our engaging hour together I was asked what I thought about daylight saving time.

“It robs our youth of their rightful rest,” I said. “The argument for daylight savings time is that we need the early daylight so kids won’t have to wait for their school bus in the dark. Well, I say start school an hour later, let our kids have their rightful rest, and leave the rest of us alone!”

I suspect I could run for office on that plank alone and get elected. But then, as Mark Twain told us and Barak Obama might be finding out, “It is easier to stay out than it is to get out.”

One of those kids from Great Basin College is going to be president one day. Mark my words.

To learn more about McAvoy Layne, visit

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