Punkinhead Avery

Punkinhead Avery lived around the corner from me in a two family duplex with his Gramma and his idiot younger brother, Carl. We all knew his name was Punkinhead because his Gramma would walk out onto the porch at least once a day and scream

Punkinhead!! Punkinhead Avery, you get your ass home right now!

Punkinhead was a little older than everyone in the hood, so we all kinda looked up to him. Punkinhead was the neighborhood inventor and was considered a friggin’ genius by virtually every fourth grader. I am reasonably certain that Punkinhead is currently a research scientist at MIT, the head of the NASA Space Program, or the president of some prestigious university.

On one particular occasion, Punkinhead had built a go cart out of four by twos, some layer board, and the wheels from a rusty baby carriage. Of course, he needed a test pilot, as any reasonable inventor would not want to jeopardize a brilliant future in the engineering sciences on a faulty experiment in ground transportation. So the logical test pilot was Punkinhead’s pinhead brother, Carl. Carl had the IQ of an avocado and the disposition of Barney the dinosaur, so he was a perfect test pilot. I cannot for the life of me remember how this all turned out, but I am pretty sure that no one was killed.

Actually, I am sure that Carl survived, since I ran into him a couple of years later working at Bender’s Farm. Old man Bender would drive from corn field to corn field, with the whole Hee Haw gang of migrant farm laborers from my neighborhood sitting in the back of his pickup. When I saw Carl, he was sitting on the tail gate after we loaded up for the days work. When old man Bender hit the gas, Carl fell off the tail gate onto his head, did two barrel rolls, and got up laughing like a hyena. In all likelihood, that is also the way the go cart experiment ended.

I guess this whole story allows us to ponder the question “Are we better off smart and frustrated or dumb and happy”. I suspect that dumb and happy might be the better choice. Then again, maybe I am already there and am just too dim to realize it.

All content copyright of Christopher Hammond