The Scarecrow’s Demise


Barrett L. Dorko, P.T.


I could while away the hours,

Conversin’ with the flowers,

Consultin’ with the rain.

With the thoughts I’d be thinkin’

I could be another Lincoln

If I only had a brain


The best example of parasympathetic dominance I can think of is the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz. Perhaps he isn’t the steadiest sort, but, if you think about it, his remarkable pliability made him virtually impossible to hurt.


I’d unravel every riddle

For every individal

In trouble or in pain.

And my head I’d be scratchin’

While my thoughts were busy hatchin’

If I only had a brain


Despite his lament about no brain, the Scarecrow is actually the one that comes up with the plan to save Dorothy when she’s trapped in the witch’s castle. “I’ve got an idea” is the refrain that his colleagues come to expect from him.


Oh, I could tell you why the ocean’s near the shore

I could think of things I never thunk before

And then I’d sit, and think some more


It is the distinct physicality of the Scarecrow that separates him from the others, not his stupidity. His softness, his “give” in every conceivable direction seems to reflect his facile mind. Perhaps his stream of ideas flows so freely because his body doesn’t hold anything back. After all, any actor that wants to display the suppression of thinking or feeling simply stiffens their body. Julia Roberts has made a career out of this. At least, that’s my opinion.


I’d not be just a nothin’

My head all full of stuffin”

My heart all full of pain.

And perhaps I’d deserve you

And be even worthy erv you

If I only had a brain


When the Wizard tells the Scarecrow “The only thing you lack is a diploma,” and bestows upon him a PhT (Doctor of Thinkology), he draws himself erect for the first time, his face now solemn and fettered. He remains pretty much like this throughout his last scene. When we last see him he’s erect and proper, practically puffed up.


If you knocked him over, he’d probably break in two.