So, riddle me this -- why is my head so big?
I find myself looking at my head for an inordinate amount of time. It’s not that I’m fascinated with it, or paranoid that it’s shifting into something different. It just always seems to be around me.
Our production manager, Bob Bertram, is the main culprit on this one. He developed a marketing plan a few years ago that involves him performing digital enhancements on my big, bald head to make it appear like any number of things — a pumpkin in the fall, a watermelon in the spring/summer, movie character Shrek another time, the Capital building, etc.
He thinks it’s funny, and he’s gotten validation from our press association, as he’s won a few awards over the years for his creative work on my head in marketing materials. The other people in the office share his enthusiasm for this activity, as well, as printouts of “Darin’s Dome” are taped to various parts of the Coastal Point multiplex, including quite prominently on the door of my office. So, yeah, I spend a lot of time looking at my head.
It can make one self-conscious, staring at one’s head for an extended period of time. Go ahead. Stare at your head for a few minutes in the mirror and see if you don’t start noticing imperfections. I’ve noticed a little lack of symmetry in my own head, as well as a dent from an ill-advised stunt involving a skateboard, a trash can and an unforgiving street as a youth. I’ve also especially noticed the size of my head, which isn’t a difficult task since it looks as if it should have ropes hanging off the side of it so people could lead it down the street during a parade. I mean, it looks big. If you put it in front of the sun there would be an eclipse that could be seen from ...
But I digress.
It does look big to me, and I was starting to wonder if I was going to follow in the footsteps of Barry Bonds — no, not in terms of having power from the left side, but more so in regards to his head, which appeared to grow in proportions to his muscles as steroid rumors circled him. Only my head wasn’t growing in relation to any newfound muscles, it was just ... growing.
Of course, once this thought entered my cluttered little mind it developed a life of its own. I’ve been told I have a big head for years, but that was more in metaphorical terms, as I’ve been labeled as a bit arrogant from time to time. There is nothing about this that’s metaphorical. My head was looking to me like it physically grew, and was in danger of getting its own Congressional district.
I scurried off to the Internet to try to find out if other people are sharing in this revelation — you know, like an epidemic of growing heads caused by preservatives or drinking out of neighbors’ hoses one too many times when I was a kid. Of course, being a person who is easily distracted, I was carried away by the first search result that found my monitor:
“White Americans’ heads are getting bigger — literally, study shows.”
This little nugget was on the MSNBC Web site, so I figured it was more reliable than if I had found it on www.whyismyheadsobig.com. The story cited a study conducted at the University of Tennessee’s Forensic Anthropology Center, and though it didn’t deal directly with why my head seems to be swelling faster than the ocean during a good nor’easter, it did have some interesting information.
They have studied white American craniums collected over the past 150 years (they did not have as many black or Hispanic skulls to include in the study) and determined that the height of white male skulls of those born in the 20th century has increased by 8 millimeters and the overall skull has grown by 200 cubic centimeters, when compared to those born in the 19th century. For women, height has increased by 7 millimeters, and overall by 180 cubic centimeters.
Researchers were not necessarily surprised by the study, as they feel that our excess in calories leads to taller, fatter, bigger Americans, but they would not go so far as to say that our bigger skulls necessarily equate to better brains, even if they are a little bigger.
So, let me get this straight. We have bigger heads, and thus bigger brains, but we aren’t necessarily any smarter? Isn’t that like getting a promotion at work where you get more responsibility, but no change in money? At the least, we should be getting smarter.
Somebody needs to figure out why my head is growing.