Give your nose a little push,
Then listen for the quiet whoosh.
You're told there's only brain in there,
But are you sure
it isn't air?
That cranium can hold a lot,
Make room in there
For more than snot.
You gotta' let the knowledge in,
So fingers up now,
Just give your nose a little push
For the whoosh.
This poem comes from the suggestions of a 4th grade class that I did a reading for last month. The request was for a poem about a “literal airhead”, which made me wonder what would actually happen if someone’s brain was sucked out through their ear. Would the skull collapse? Probably yes, if it was sealed up and left as a vacuum. It should be okay if the right amount of air was pumped in to equalize the pressure with the outside atmosphere. Then I naturally wondered what would happen if the evacuated head were filled with air but the surrounding room was sealed and all the air was sucked out of the room. I image the head could expand like a balloon with this reversed pressure difference. It might even explode. Which would be more gruesome, the collapsing head or the exploding head? I started to write my poem about THAT and quickly realized it was probably too upsetting for a 4th grade teacher. I’m sure the kids would have liked it, but this poem was probably the safest way to go. Besides, it’s really hard to draw exploding heads, and I already have a drawing of a collapsed head (see my poem Thumb Juice).
On another note, I’m sure right now my readers are all noticing the glaring problem with this drawing. The balloon head is floating, but the poem is called AIRhead. Clearly the head would have to be filled with helium or hydrogen to float like that and, even with helium, the mass of the bone and skin would probably overcome the buoyancy of the lighter-than-air gas inside. The other elements of this drawing are realistic enough, a brainless kid still standing and holding her taffy-like stretched neck, but air floating in air? Come on, man. Learn about density!
Relax, folks. It’s just a poem.