Ross Murray's Border Report
Ross Murray
is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at
Posted 02.02.09
Stanstead, Quebec


Look at the head on that one!

I was one of those people who thought it would never happen to me. Other people, sure, but not me. Not surprisingly, when it did happen, I reacted with shock, disbelief and enough dramatics for my wife to say, "Oh, get over yourself."

I gained a pants size.

I won't say what I was before or what I am now. I don't need the hate mail. Nonetheless, when you've been the same size for most of your adult life and you've eaten your way through second- and third-helping meals thinking that none of it's ever going to stick, because none of it ever has, it's a bit distressing when it does.

What this means is that I'm just like every other man, except that instead of cultivating a hefty beer belly I'll probably end up being a skinny guy who looks three months pregnant.

Regardless of our size or our propensity to gain weight, we're all so darned squishy. And our squishy selves ultimately betray our squishy lifestyles.

But you know what else is squishy? Our brains. And while our other squishy parts grow or shrink according to our lifestyles, our brains stay the same size.

That doesn't seem fair to me. Just as our stomachs expand the more we eat, imagine if our brains and (for convenience sake) our heads expanded the more we thought.

Oh what a world, what a glorious big-brained world!

Imagine being able to surmise how intelligent people were just by looking at them.

Imagine coming into work Monday morning and your co-worker saying, "Dude, you're head's huge. What did you do?"

"I spent the weekend fathoming the underlying constructs of Kierkegaard's theories on the subjectivity of faith and truth and inadvertently discovered who put the bomp in the bomp-shu-bomp-shu-bomp."

Schools, universities and research foundations would hire the top intellects just by getting a gander at the candidates' melons. Of course, they'd have to renovate the facilities so the eggheads could fit through the door...

At the other end of the spectrum, teenaged boys' heads would be ridiculously small. Dogs' heads would be virtually invisible.

On the downside, there could be a problem with teenaged girls. Normally, girls don't like to come off as being smarter than the boys. Yet their bodacious beans would be a giveaway. The girls, therefore, would purposely starve their brains by rejecting algebra in favour of a steady diet of Ryan Seacrest. Across North America, girls would be diagnosed with thinking disorders.

Worse than not thinking would be junk thinking. What is junk thinking?

Well, "good thinking" is figuring out how to use "egregious" properly in a sentence or how to exact revenge on the person who invented the string enclosure on potato bags. Junk thinking would be memorizing and reciting entire episodes of "Family Guy."

A junk-thinking person's brain would still expand but its makeup would be 95 percent sparkling mineral water.

Equally deceiving would be people who metabolize their thoughts more quickly than normal -- they think and they think but they just don't gain brain. Would they consequently be discriminated against? ("He seems smart but he sure doesn't look it. Let's hire that guy who could recite Monty Python sketches instead.")

Americans would weigh the size of their skulls against their international counterparts. There would be talk of a "noggin gap" and America's "cranial crisis."

What about people who primarily use the right side of their brain? Creative, yes, but terribly lopsided.

Speaking of which, would giant-headed geniuses pose a risk to themselves and others by constantly tipping over?

So many questions. In the end, perhaps the greatest benefit would be that our prodigious pates would distract from our bulging bellies. Or not:

"That skinny guy's got a big head on his shoulders," they'd say. "You'd think he'd have sense enough not to get pregnant."

That, my friends, would be egregious.