“Heap Brain” by Edgar Wilson Nye

Story type: EssayMuch trouble has been done by a long haired phrenologist in the West who has, during his life, felt of over a hundred thousand heads. A comparison of a l …

Story type: Essay

Much trouble has been done by a long haired phrenologist in the West who has, during his life, felt of over a hundred thousand heads. A comparison of a large number of charts given in these cases shows that so far no head examined would indicate anything less than a member of the lower house of congress. Artists, orators, prima-donnas and statesmen are plenty, but there are no charts showing the natural-born farmer, carpenter, shoemaker or chambermaid.

That is the reason butter is so high west of the Missouri river to-day, while genius actually runs riot.

What this day and age of the world needs, is a phrenologist who will paw around among the intellectual domes of free-born American citizens, and search out a few men who can milk a cow in a cool and unimpassioned tone of voice.

It is true that every man in America is a sovereign, but he had better not overdo it. The man who sits up nights to be a sovereign and allows the calves to eat his brown-eyed beans, is not leading his fellow men up to a higher and nobler life. The sovereign business can be run in the ground if we are not careful.

Very likely the white-eyed boy with the hickory dado along the base of his overalls is the boy who in future years is to be the president of the United States. But do not, oh, do not trow, fair young reader, that every Albino youth in our broad land who wears an isosceles triangle in navy blue flannel athwart his system, is going to be the chief magistrate of this mighty republic.

We need statesmen and orators and artists very much; but the world at this moment also needs several athletic parties with the horse-sense adequate to produce flour and other vegetables necessary to feed the aforesaid statesmen, orators, etc., etc.

Let me say a word to the bright-eyed youth of America, Let me murmur in your ear this never dying truth: When a long-haired crank asks you a dollar to tell you, you are a young Demosthenes, stand up and look yourself over at a distance before you swallow it all.

There is no use talking, we have got to procure provisions in some manner, and in order to do so the natural-born bone and muscle of the country must go at and promote the growth of such things, or else we artists, poets and statesmen, will have to take off our standing collars and do it ourselves.

Phrenology is a good thing, no doubt, if we can purify it. So long as it does not become the slave of capital, there is nothing about phrenology that is going to do harm; but when it becomes the creature of the trade dollar, it looks as though the country would be filled up with wild-eyed genius that hasn’t had a square meal for two weeks. The time will surely come when America will demand less statesmanship and more flour; when less statistics and a purer, nobler and more progressive style of beefsteak will demand our attention.

I had hoped that phrenology would step in and start this reform; but so far it has not, within the range of my observation. It may be, however, that the mental giant bump translator with whom I came in contact was not a fair representative. Still, he has been in the business for over thirty years, and some of our most polished criminals have passed under his hands.

An erroneous phrenologist once told me that I would shine as a revivalist, and said that I ought to marry a tall blonde with a nervous, sanguinary temperament. Then he said, “One dollar, please,” and I said, “All right, gentle scientist with the tawny mane, I will give you the dollar and marry the tall blonde with the bank account and bilious temperament, when you give me a chart showing me how to dispose of a brown-eyed brunette with a thoughtful cast of countenance, who married me in an unguarded moment two years ago.”

He looked at me in a reproachful kind of way, struck at me with a chair in an absent-minded manner and stole away.

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