Okay, it took this topic to make me type again, for I’ve had a tough surgery on my arm and, frankly, it hurts to type. It hurts to do the dishes. It hurts to pick up dirty laundry off the floor and it really hurts to fold the clean laundry. But who’s complaining? (I suppose I am.) In any case, this blog, guided by my pain, will be brief.
But that’s not why I am writing this piece. It’s because in the few weeks I’ve been waylaid by pain, I’ve noticed that something impossible has happened: the news has gotten even weirder than when I stopped writing. I say nothing of the Kardashians—that’s just par for the course—nor say I anything about the president of the United States or Nike advertising or anonymous op eds to the New York Times. I say nothing.
But I do say something about a certain man, S. Navin Kumar, who set a new world’s record by cracking walnuts (217 in one minute). It’s an odd record, walnut cracking. Now, at first blush, this may not seem odd. After all, someone has to crack the nuts, and maybe in a factory somewhere there was a competition between crackers and then, one marvelous and legendary day, someone won that contest—like sheepshearers in Australia. Walnuts come primarily from Germany, then Turkey, China, Japan and Spain. I checked it out. So, let’s figure on Germany. There someone bet someone else a beer, no doubt, that he (probably he) could outstrip his counterpart Nussknacker (the German word for nutcracker is in fact Nussknacker). “Ich kan Nüsse besser als du knacken,” he probably said, “und schneller!” And that’s how it all started.
All things seem to start nobly, and only afterwards degenerate. Take professional basketball for example. They once called real fouls, no matter who fouled whom. They also called traveling. No longer. Big stars get free passes on fouls and traveling. Actually, almost everyone gets free passes on the latter nowadays.
But nutcracking—that’s the big surprise. What started as an innocent contest between two beer drinking Germans (sorry for the stereotype) has degenerated into head-slamming grandstanding and, ironically, this just when the NFL is cracking down on shots to the head and even uncalled for body blows. Perhaps as a reaction to that, suddenly the world record for cracking walnuts with one’s head has been set—set in stone, I might add—S. Navin Kumar. I suppose I, with the rest of the world, should simply congratulate him. But honestly, I think he must be nuts.
Okay, my arm is sore, which will allow you to forgive me for that rather weak closing line.