By Charles Towne 

The origin of football   

Good title, don’t you think?  Why men are the way they are?  It’s not so much a question as a conundrum.  And don’t expect me to supply the answer; I am part of the problem, not the solution.

If we are going to try to understand men we need to travel back, way back, way-way back, to a more primitive time.  Back to that time when men survived, not so much by their wits or their stamina, as by stupid mistakes that turned out all right. That’s right my friend, men were not much different then as they are today.

Back in those dim annals of man’s history men were known simply as, ‘men’.

The word “men” was used all-inclusively, not only to refer to men in the plural sense but, if you had a single man he was still called “men.” As you might imagine the result was somewhat confusing.

The chief asked for men to go forth and destroy the ferocious, evil, snaggle-toothed man-eating sparrow that had been eating all of the villagers, and guess what?  A single, and not very bright “men” showed up.

And by the way, that village was eventually completely wiped out by a gaggle of ferocious, evil, man-eating, snaggle-toothed sparrows.  The elimination of this village did not harm the human gene pool in any way.

In actuality, the word, ‘men’ was originally taken from the root word, “me.”

The primitive creature that he was, that original man ran around with a dumb look on his face, pounding on his chest and shouting, “ME!”  At the top of his lungs.  Again, as is very evident, men have not changed all that much.

Sad as it may seem, a ferocious, evil, snaggle-toothed, man-eating sparrow heard him shouting, “ME!” at the top of his lungs and ate him, but not before his wife got tired of ME and clouted him mightily right in the middle of a particularly offensive “ME!”

Said blow caused his jaws to slam shut resulting in him uttering that last “Me” as, “Me’nnnn!”   Those primitive people upon beholding this smiting by Me’s wife applauded and shouted with great joy for they knew that an apocalyptic event had taken place.  Never again would man be known as Me, his day had arrived, he was now “me’nnnn!”

Eventually, this was shortened to mennn, then to menn, and years later, to men, and finally to man, where it remains to this day.

If only the rest of the story could be so simple.

Men proliferated and increased.  That means there were a lot of them.

And then, as difficult as it may be to understand, knowledge was invented, and suddenly, paradoxically, people knew stuff.  Lots of stuff, important stuff, like where the largest bass were hiding, why one shouldn’t throw rocks at hornet’s nests, and how to avoid washing windows.

One day a very nice guy by the name of Pete, (you would have liked Pete) Pete Smorg was his full name, got himself invited as the guest of honor to a special dinner by this big flock of hungry, saber-toothed geese. Poor Pete.

The next day a group of Pete’s friends were standing around lying about their dear departed friend.  (The word “lying” is used here because this happened a long time before the word reminiscing was invented.)

At this meeting of Pete’s friends, it was decided by one and all that they should kick something in Pete’s memory.

The handiest thing available to kick, and the only thing left of Pete was his head, therefore, they began kicking it.

This was the beginning of our present-day game of football, as it is now known.  Kicking Pete’s head, due to the fact that shoes had not been invented yet, was also almost the end of our present-day game of football as it is known.

(It was originally called “excruciatingly and agonizingly painful, swollen foot, broken toe, kick Pete’s head in memory of Pete,”) for a very good reason.

Not only did Pete inspire football but he also invented the electric can opener. (This was especially challenging due to the fact that electricity had not been discovered yet.)  He also invented the grunt and flatulence.

A lot of people use as evidence that the above is a true account due to the fact that men have not really changed all that much and frequently point at themselves and shout, “ME!” even to this day.

Dear lord, I implore you, please help us mennn to change.  Amen

(Some may wonder what all of the above has to do with faith and inspiration so I will tell you.  Absolutely nothing other than for the fact that Papa God usually changes us individually and not en masse.)

Charles Towne is first and foremost a Christian. An octogenarian, author, journalist, wildlife photographer, naturalist, caregiver, and survivor, his life has been and continues to be, a never-ending adventure filled with possibilities never imagined. He has adopted the philosophy that to Live fully, laugh uproariously, love passionately, and learn like there is no tomorrow, is a formula for a long and joy-filled life.


  1. CSG, I don’t know a man that isn’t a work in progress do you? Please ladies, pray a lot and be patient with us o.k.? Chaz

  2. Thanks for putting a Smile in my Day, I can Tell You have spent Hours RESERCHING the Topic? Now I know why my Wife acts the way she Does!

  3. Thats my boy EJ, BLAME IT ALL ON YOUR POOR DARLING WIFE! And always do it with a neanderthal grunt. Thanks pal, Chaz

  4. My dear friend NH, just to set you straight this article was not intended to entertain you ladies it was intended to make you more sympathetic to us poor mennn! Ugh, Chaz

  5. Dear reader, if it wasn’t for the refining influence of the fair sex us guys wouldn’t have any good sense or redeeming qualities at all, ya think? Maybe? Perhaps? Chaz

    The preceding comment was made under great duress and promises of dire and lethal threat to my person far beyond one’s imagining. C

  6. Well, that one explains a lot… All one has to do to confirm how little man has changed is to watch a hockey game, MMA event or boxing. Every time I think I am about to evolve I hear something like “you’re not leaving the house dressed like that are you”. She has so much patience…

  7. Oh my dear friend Mike, YOU TOO? When I was a boy my mother would say, “Did you change your undershorts? What would people think of me if you were in a terrible accident and you were wearing dirty undershorts?” Well ma, I would hope they would be thinking about putting me back together again and not my skid marks! Just saying, Chaz

  8. That does explain a lot. It also mirrors what I find myself complaint about quite a bit with how little we’ve changed. Great read as always Chuck. God bless

  9. Yeah Donny, and we can deny it all day long but our wives know the truth don’t they? You take care and many blessings on you and yours, Chaz

  10. Now I know why I have so many Knots on my head! It’s because I did a lot of things I was NOT supposed to do as a men! And, all the time I thought those were Knowledge bumps. Maybe, when we get so many knots on our heads, and we think we know so much, that is why people call us Knot-Heads! I’m afraid I’ve lived so long, and there isn’t enough time, that I won’t me able to change! How do you change to become an Un-Knot head?

  11. Don, the proper term is not an Un knot head it is not knot head, knot head! Oy vay, I am so confused. I have given up on ever achieving the exulted status of not knot head because a lifetime of being a knot head I am still a knot head. Now I am going to curl up in the corner and suck my thumb, Chaz

    P.s. I think we have both made grand progress ol’ pal. C

  12. I had no idea that football actually started that way. I guess we owe a lot to Pete and menn like him. I’d like to hear more about how he invented the can opener. Perhaps in a future article? Maybe you can tell us how the name woman came about. I might be afraid to hear that story. Ha ha! Thanks for the entertaining and lighthearted read.

  13. Dear Kristin, that my dear is another story and it starts like all stories with,”Once upon a time…” To this day we are reminded of that distant time when Mr. Me was smote by Mrs. Me. From that early smiting the witnesses began calling Mrs. Me Woe Mannn which was eventually shortened to Woe Mann and then to Woe man and thence to woman. Really quite reasonable wouldn’t you say? Chaz

  14. The idea of mankind’s survival being characterized as people making lots of stupid mistakes that turned out alright…why that is an idea I can get behind. I think you are right and that it it is still going on to this very day. Along with the chest pounding and the “ME, ME, ME”. Thank God, we have God. No other way to explain our continuance. I know this is all in good fun, but there is a lot of truth here it would seem. God, surely has a good sense of humor. Cowabunga!

  15. Cowabunga! Now you are speaking my language Nicole! The word tells us that we are made in His image which indicates to me that He has a sense of humor, and if you doubt that go look in the mirror! O He is so very good isn’t He? Many blessings on you and yours, Chaz

    P.S. And cowabunga to you too, C


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