Larger-brained humans can only lead to race of fat heads

A gift from reader Julie Fiedler helps me demonstrate how, if the journal Science is correct, one of these human head proportions may be accurate by the next generation. The question is, with today’s television programming, which size will it be?

As if we didn’t have enough problems already now that the political season is underway, according to a report in the journal Science the human brain is getting bigger. In fact, from what I understand (based on my in-depth analysis of a five-word headline in the New York Post), there’s a good chance yours may be outgrowing your skull right now. Signs this may be occurring include: vomiting, nausea, dizziness, frequent headaches and bleeding from the ears. If you suffer from any or all of these symptoms, DO NOT PANIC! They may only be the side effects of your current FDA-approved medication for acid reflux.

Then again, your brain might have actually gotten bigger since you started reading this column. And not just because of the sheer quality of writing — which is always a possibility (keeping in mind the same symptoms may apply.)

Before we go on, I should, as a responsible journalist, take a moment and actually read the article. In the meantime, I’d suggest applying equal amounts of pressure to both sides of your head, just to be safe.

… OK. Sorry — false alarm.

After reading the article it has become clear the threat of spontaneous brain enlargement is actually very slim. In fact, the only documented case appeared in the National Inquirer, which reported that a young boy’s head spontaneously grew three times its normal size during the Arkansas State Spelling Bee. Amazingly, nine-year-old Reggie Sims survived the incident and now lives in Southern California, where his oversized head goes virtually unnoticed. But for those of us living outside the Los Angeles basin, spontaneous head swelling remains extremely rare. However, researchers say the human brain is getting larger, albeit very slowly, through a process of evolution. At first, larger brains sounded like a good idea since bigger brains means a smarter gene pool, hence leading us toward a Utopian society free of want and suffering.

Or at least free from telemarketers.

The down side is that our great-great-great grandchildren could end up looking like one of those bigheaded aliens from a 50s science fiction movie. True, this could happen anyway — possibly even in my own lifetime — if I don’t meticulously screen each one of my children’s potential spouses. However, assuming neither my sons nor daughters marries anyone whose head fits snugly into a standard tractor inner tube, there’s still the matter of future generations to worry about. The journal Science article I read doesn’t mention anything about other parts of the human anatomy growing in proportion along with our enormous brains — which, as I’m sure many woman would attest, would double the male IQ.

Biologists tell us that any “improvement” in the human anatomy is the direct result of evolution’s attempt to meet the changing needs of mankind. For example: Our opposable thumbs. This uniquely human trait distinguishes us from other primates, most notably through our ability to use all three holes in a bowling ball.

Following that line of thought, larger brains is likely the result of our need as a species to absorb and process more information at a younger age. This was evident last night, when my four-year-old nephew whipped my behind in PlayStation football.

He cannot read.

He cannot understand the tactical decision making required for offensive line formations.

He doesn’t even know how many yards are in a first down.

Yet he can complete a Hail Mary pass and run a bootleg while I — with my larger and ultimately superior opposable thumbs — push buttons and move toggles as my defensive line is left picking grass from its teeth. I can’t say for sure if this has any connection to the evolutionary process. But if his head gets any bigger, I swear:

He’s moving to California.



(Ned Hickson is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation and a member of the writing team at Long Awkward Pause. This has been an excerpt from his first book, Humor at the Speed of Life, is available from Port Hole Publications, or Barnes & Noble.)

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Ned's Blog

I was a journalist, humor columnist, writer and editor at Siuslaw News for 23 years. The next chapter in my own writer’s journey is helping other writers prepare their manuscript for the road ahead. I'm married to the perfect woman, have four great kids, and a tenuous grip on my sanity...

38 thoughts on “Larger-brained humans can only lead to race of fat heads”

  1. The kid’s already left me in the dust.
    All hope is truly lost.

    Great piece, Ned.
    You continue to amaze.
    I want to be you when i grow up.
    You know, if I had any talent or hope…

        1. Lol! Exactly, Robert. And writing is like a batting average; there will always be slumps. But in the end it’s your batting average that people remember. And you’d be my lead-off hitter if I had money to own a team. Even a little league team…

  2. This medical moment brought to you by Anusol, the topical ointment that should never be topical.

    Just to correct something you wrote earlier about vomiting, nausea, dizziness, frequent headaches and bleeding from the ears…these are, in fact, side-effects of the political process. They should dissipate with the next election, only to be replaced by a crushing heaviness of the chest and an overall diminishment of the will to live.

    And, you missed the most common side effect of all therapeutics: flu-like symptoms, which depending on your personal experience with flu, can mean pretty much anything.

    In an ironic twist, one of the key symptoms associated with receiving the flu vaccine is flu-like symptoms (seriously, look it up).

    But, like a kidney stone, that too shall pass…but not without first making you wish you were dead.

  3. My brain is getting too big for my skull because I swear that brain matter oozes out the ears and onto my pillow every night. It could explain a recent moment of dizziness and why I suffer from cognitive overload most days.

  4. Ya know, back in the day “curvy” women were considered sexy and super big marriage material in society. Could be in the future, the bigger the head the more attractive a person is. Here’s to hoping your Grandchildren find someone with a massive noggin.

  5. Look, in the road, a head! Oh, wait, that’s just Ned. Are you sure that your brain isn’t growing? – sure does look to me like your head is bigger.

  6. I have a naturally big head – my husband lovingly points it out to me all of the time. Especially when it’s obstructing the view of oncoming traffic or a blonde with long legs.
    (Thank you for the Sunday laugh, Ned!!)

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