Tuesday, July 26, 2005


Blueberries look like detached -- mind you, blue -- assholes.

Picking your nose's friends

I chain smoke nose pick. That might be healthier than actually being a chain smoker, but I won't be shocked if I end up with sinus cancer. Who knows what germs I stick up there while trying to mine for precious, precious stones.

Actually, it has nothing to do with productivity. I'm not on a quest to find the golden nugget. It might be the most direct path to my brain (yes, picking my brain). Mainly, it's just a nervous habit. Can't quite say where it began.

I mean, I know I've been doing it since I was a kid, but I'm more aware of it now. My father's definitely a picker, though a discreet one. He neatly drapes a tissue between thumb and index finger, then proceeds to probe -- thumb inside, pointer on the outer nostril, for leverage. I've wondered, only recently, whether he started doing that after he had children. The tissues, not the picking. Perhaps he was trying to set a good example.

One of my earliest booger memories is of finding a throbbing mass of green, with chunks, on a bookshelf in the elementary school library. Don't ask me how or why I remember this, but I'm pretty sure Jamie Beyer put it there. I gagged. Now, given such a visceral reaction, you'd think that would have put me off picking. But it's like so many things, like bellbottoms, which are disgusting on others but perfectly acceptable for one's self. I wipe my ass, I get shit on my hand, I wash my hand -- not a big deal. Put someone else's shit on my hand, I might not be so casual about it.

Then again, maybe my near vomitation came less from the sight of her deposit as from her lack of decorum and imagination. I've never been a dropper or a smearer or an eater. I'm a roller and a flicker. It takes remarkably little mucus in order to roll. One would imagine balls of rubber cement. But that's really only on rare, special occasions. In fact, if I actually pulled something of substance from the depths of my nasal cavities, I probably would dispose of it properly, respectfully. Still, most of the time I am merely harvesting a thin film of snot. Carefully rolled between thumb and index finger, most of the moisture can be wrung out (and, I suppose, reabsorbed), until you're left with thin flecks -- not unlike pencil eraser droppings. Come, try it with me. But don't stop now. It's just getting good. If you push, knead, roll past that point, you exponentially reduce the size of the pieces until, I'm fairly convinced, you can actually break them down into the particles of dead skin and hair and whatever else they were before making the unfortunate trip up your nose, trapped by nostril hair, absorbed by membrane. At which point they can be returned to the wild (flicked), if there's anything left in the physical realm. I am all in favor of catch and release.

It's the circle of life, really. Or the Ouroborous (snake eating its own tail) of neuroses.

Mind you, I do have moments of self control. I don't do it in public. And if I do it in front of you, consider yourself high on my comfort list. I wouldn't mind stopping altogether. But I'm resigned to the fact that even if I did, even if I could ignore the siren call of my nose hair, roots prickling the sensitive underbelly of my nostrils, I'd just move on to my ass or my balls or simple masturbation. Like I need an excuse.

There is something deeper here, something just beyond knuckle's reach.