Oh yeah, the Head Story. You’re in for a treat. This is going to be an experiment, we’ll see how it works out. What follows is a story that we’ve told, or more importantly had told to us, around the camp fire for years untold. A family friend, Smitty, used to tell us this every deer season. We’d beg him to tell it. “Tell Head! Tell Head!”. Every time it was a little different. Now it’s my turn.
Some years ago now there was a young couple very much in love. As young couples do they married and eagerly started about the business of having a family. Desperately they wanted a child to call their own.
It wasn’t long before the day arrived for their first child’s birth. As fathers have for years untold the young man, soon to be “Dad”, paced and waited. After some time, the doctor entered the waiting room with a grave face.
“We have good news and bad news.” He began “The good news, you’re the father to a beautiful healthy baby boy…”
“And the bad?” Dad asked hesitantly.
“Your son was born without arms, legs, torso, or neck…. your son is in short, nothing more than a head. A healthy head, but simply a head. I’m sorry, there is nothing we can do. I see no reason however he should not be able to live a full and fulfilling life. He’ll just have to do so as a head….”
The young father was crushed. His son was a head, how could he live? Yet, he was HIS SON dammit, he would live. He’d have the best life a head could hope for. No son of his would be held back by a little thing like being nothing but a head!
It was with this attitude that the young family, Mom, Dad, and Head, loaded into the family car and headed home a few days later.
A year passed by, Head turned 1. What a joyous day. Family came from far around to celebrate with the young family. Head was showered with hats, bonnets, ear warmers, and all the things a young growing head could need.
Another year passed, more hats… And another…
By his sixth year, Head had a pretty respectable collection of hats going on. It was a few days before Head’s birthday that Dad came home to find Head crying.
“Head, my boy, what’s wrong?”
“Well Dad,” Head said “it’s just that, you know, I’m not like the other boys. We can’t do the same things together. The other boy’s dads, well, they run, and wrestle, and play catch and all that stuff with their kids… I can’t do any of that. I just kind of sit here all day.”
“Son, if you want to do those things, we’ll do them! Let’s go play catch!”
Dad picked up Head and packed him in the backyard. There, he sat Head on the ground and carefully propped a baseball mitt up next to him. They were going to play catch like a normal father and son, and no one was going to say otherwise. The first throw came, and went a little wide, striking Head in the forehead. Catch was a failure.
More years passed, Head received more hats, ear muffs, sunglasses, and the like.
Again, Dad came home to find Head crying this time a few days before Head’s twelfth birthday.
“Dad,” Head sniffled “Why don’t we ever go fishing together?”
And so it was decided that the next day the two would go fishing.
Early the next morning, Dad got up, helped Head into one of his warmest hats, put him in a large bucket and together they headed out fishing.
When they arrived at a small dock Dad removed Head from his carry bucket, upturned it, and propped Head on the bottom. He then proceeded to tie a small hand line around one of Head’s front teeth, bait the hook and cast out the line. Casting his own, he settled into a chair to Head’s right and the two began the serious business of fishing.
The fish however didn’t get the memo… no bites. For hours, no bites. The two had a good time however, talking, joking, and just enjoying the time outdoors.
It was some four hours later when Head finally got his first bite. The fish, a large one, took the hook with force and *pop* out came Head’s front tooth. And so, fishing too was a failure.
And so life progressed. Things aren’t easy when you’re a head, but Head fought on.
It was shortly after his twenty-first birthday that Head again had a talk with his father.
“Dad, I know we’ve tried all sorts of activities together, and most have been dismal failures… But I’m a man now. I may not be able to do things for myself, but dammit, I’m a man. You and your buddy’s you all go out drinking down at the bar. I sit here. I want get out! I want to hang out with the guys. I want to be normal…”
“If it’s a trip to the local pub that my son wants, it what he shall have!” Dad replied, seeming a little too excited about the prospect of having to go out for a drink…
Again, head was packed into his carry bucket, and off they went to the neighborhood pub. Here Dad propped Head on a bar stool and shouted for drinks. The bar tender brought each a beer. Dad poured a bit of this into Head’s mouth and wouldn’t you know, Head liked it. Liked it a lot. He got a little bit of an odd sensation he’d never felt before around where a neck should have been, but he liked that too.
Soon he’d finished his first, and something odd was happening. There was a bit of a bulge under his chin, as though he were growing a neck. Dad ordered another round and Head drank this in one and, yes, yes… there was definitely a neck know!
Quickly a third and forth were ordered and soon Head had grown shoulders! The excitement in the bar was thick as people gathered to watch. A pitcher was ordered and Head downed it in one, growing a rib cage as he did. And on he drank.
Some twenty minutes later a noticeably intoxicated Head sat at the bar, wobbling slightly. That is to say, he actually sat! He’d grown everything save a lower right leg.
“Bartender, another! I want my leg!” Head slurred.
“Are you sure buddy?” The bartender asked “You look to me like you’ve had quite enough. Another and you may well keel right over.”
“I know what I’m doing, another!”
“OK buddy, here you go.” The bartender replied pouring Head yet another pint.
Head tipped back his head and downed this like those before it, in one long draw. And this was it, his right leg was growing. Head was at last complete.
But then Head began to noticeably wobble on his stool. He let out a small moan, his eyes rolled back in his head and he toppled backwards from his seat.
The bartender leaned over the bar to examine the now sizable man, sprawling across the floor of the bar. As the crowd gathered around to look the bar tender said….
wait for it
“That boy should have quit while he was ahead.”