Heads Up!
Off the Wall, February 2
, 2013

Something occurred to me the other day as I lay in bed anticipating the many things that lay ahead of me concerning the upcoming activities. I realized that there are more uses of the four-letter word, head, than just the one of which we are most familiar.

Of course, a few expressions popped into my mind. And then I thought just for the heck of it, I would Google ‘Expressions that use the word ‘head’ in them.’ I was blown out of my chair – well not really, because I stand when I compute at this electronic machine. Somehow, my mind works better that way, and my back doesn’t speak painful of me. It’s about time I gained some respect!

Anyway, can you believe it? There are in excess of 150 expressions using the ‘head.’ No, I did not make a typo. I thought I may find maybe 15 or at the most 20, but not well over 100. I know people are making words up these days, some a bit on the crude side, if you ask me, but I couldn’t believe my eyes when I viewed my printout.

Other than the thing that is sitting on my shoulder supporting my nose, mouth and brains, the first thing that came to mind, believe it or not, is the foam that sits atop beer in preferably a mug. Now, I do not drink, but when I see those ads on TV, I think beer looks better in this type of a container. That is just my preference, of course.

I knew a number of high school classmates who thought they were ‘big cheese’ or ‘big-headed,’ as the expression fitted their personality.

I admire people who have a ‘cool head.’ They are always mild mannered and never seem to fly off the handle – ever. Some of us need to be a little more like that.

“Heads up!” a coach may call out to his football players just before the ball is snapped.

Now all these make sense, somehow. But in writing a story not so long ago, I related that when a deer has symptoms of a certain disease, one of the details I discovered in my research was that it ‘carries its head in a lowly state.’

One shouldn’t send releases to me like that. I couldn’t wait to write this column, because I knew that I had to touch upon that fact somewhere in my writings.

Picture this. A deer is walking through the woods, bumping against the trees, along a grassy path, doing what the saying implies – ‘carrying its head.’ How is it doing that – on two feet? After all, it has to be hugging its head to its furry body, aimlessly bushwhacking it’s way along. Not ever measuring the length of a deer’s legs, I can only assume that the head can’t be any lower than, maybe, 45 inches or so. I guess, too, it must be hanging on one hoof, which leaves the other one free to hold it snugly to its body. If I were that deer, I would feel head long into a future of misery. Onward…

Here’s another – ‘being head over heels.’ Well, I guess if you are a woman, your head is over your heels, better than the other way around. As we know, what is meant here is, a person is really excited over a certain someone or something, such as ‘Lori Longbangs was head over heels when she met her husband, Andy, when they both fell in love.’

Another example is ‘coughing one’s head off.’ Gee, I guess that has to be a one-time effort, because once a person has accomplished this feat, he would have to find a new head and replace it before he could do the same. “I know, I can hear someone saying it finally – “Hey, Pee Vee, haven’t you outdone it a bit. That’s ‘off the wall…’” Really?

When I’m doing carpentry, my aim is to ‘hit the nail on the head. Doesn’t always work, but it’s a goal.

Ever heard someone say, “Hey, Stan. I’ll give you a head start, and then I will follow you to the fishin’ hole.”

“You know, I can’t make head or tail out of this problem.” I hope one knows which end is up, because one would be in deep do-do, otherwise!

I recently read about a man who took over his father’s business. He is now the head honcho.

Finally, a woman told me recently, I’m a good talker. That made me feel genuine, until I heard the adage, ‘a still tongue makes a wise head.’ Am I heading in the right direction?

- Paul J. Volkmann
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