Pine Nuts: True confession |

Pine Nuts: True confession

This is a written apology to Neal Nut, Sammy deFranco and Dean Callan for an incident that happened way back in September of 1960.

The incident took place in a high school science class, where I was not excelling. For a reason that I cannot recall, I was sent out of the classroom and instructed to sit by myself in the adjoining science laboratory for the duration of the class. It was a warm September afternoon so all of the windows were wide open, and being bored out of my mind, I happened to notice a hard rubber ball attached to a curtain cord that hung alongside the open windows …

Not knowing anything about physics, which I spelled “phisics” back then, I estimated the trajectory of that hard rubber ball if I were to sail it out the window, and calculated it would wrap around and hit Neal Nut, who happened to be sitting on the other side of those windows.

Well, I could not have been more exact in my estimation …

With no malice in my heart toward Neal Nut, but rather out of curiosity born of boredom, I sailed that hard rubber ball out the window.

Galileo would have been proud of my mental calculation, as that hard rubber ball swung out my window and into Neal Nut’s window, where it came in contact with Neal Nut’s left ear, causing him to utter an oath, jump out of his seat, and punch Sammy deFranco. Well, the two got to fighting and my boredom was relieved.

Neal Nut and Sammy deFranco were sent to Dean Callan’s office, where they were put on probation for the remainder of the school year, both of them blaming each other, and Dean Callan blaming them both.

The way I saw it at the time, I had done Neal Nut and Sammy deFranco a favor, as they were on their best behavior for the balance of the school year.

Fifty eight years later, as I watched Elon Musk’s launch of Falcon Heavy, and calculated correctly in my head that the trajectory would over-shoot its goal, and enter an orbit beyond the path of Mars, I realized I had missed my calling. I should have been a rocket scientist, and I should have realized that indisputable fact when I launched that hard rubber ball and landed it squarely on Neal Nut’s left ear.

Though I regret the lost career, and recognize that I should rightfully be standing alongside Elon Musk today, I would be remiss if I did not formally confess in writing that Neal Nut and Sammy deFranco were innocent, and it was McAvoy Layne that Dean Callan should have put on probation for the balance of that school year.

I’ve gone back to that high school, Miramonte, as the Ghost of Mark Twain, in an attempt to make good that dastardly deed of 1960, but have never formally apologized, until now.

Learn more about McAvoy Layne at

Support Local Journalism


Support Local Journalism

Readers around Lake Tahoe, Truckee, and beyond make the Sierra Sun's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User


See more