Monday, February 9, 2015

The Taboo

            It has been a source of amazement to me that a tiny thing such as a booger can transpose even the most confident of a human being into a silent and uneasy fool.  Have you ever been caught in a situation where serious business is being conducted and one of the individuals involved has a booger on their nose?

            Everyone knows but the booger wearer.  Why does no one speak up?  You all look at each other and you know, and you know they know, but none of you says anything.
            I was once involved in a serious Girl Scout Council meeting.  We were seated at a conference table in a well-lit room.  I was seated across from a middle-aged woman who happened to be sporting a moist white booger at the edge of her nose.

            She spoke solemnly about some concerns in her troop and was asking for advice from the members of the council.

            My first thought had been to hand her a tissue.  In my experience, that is usually enough of a hint, that and pointing to the affected area on your own nose, to leave them a certain amount of self respect.  Not having a tissue in my pocket or purse, I couldn’t go for that old trick.

            When she glanced at me, I tried rubbing my nose quickly to see if that would help her.  No, she blew right past that one.  I avoided eye contact with the other ladies at the table and noticed they also were shifting uncomfortably in their seats.

            Finally, during the course of the meeting, the woman removed a tissue from her purse and blew her nose.  You could almost see the cloud of relief that left the room after her removal of the booger.

            I, too, have been in the uncomfortable position of being the booger wearer.  Fortunately, I have been near friends who gave me the old, “hand her a tissue and wipe at their own nose” routine.

            The taboos in our society include not passing gas in public, being discrete about lavatory usage, suppressing belches, and even yawns are hidden behind the hand or a hankie.  In Japanese society it is very impolite to blow your nose at a dining table.  The Japanese probably commit hari kari if ever caught with a stray booger on their nose.

 Anderson Garden in Rockford, Illinois.  If you haven't been there, you must go.

            Why is it that something as inconsequential as a dry piece of mucus can create this much discomfort?  We are all human beings and being such, we do have waste products, one of them being mucus.  Perhaps there should be a universal sign of communication between us to indicate when and if we have a straggling bit of booger on our nose when we are in public.  We could use the old wipe at our nose bit.

            When I discussed this subject with my daughter she shared her observation that scratching your nose is similar to yawning.  Once someone does it, there is a chain reaction and someone else does it too.  And so on.  She agreed with me that the wipe your nose procedure would be a good universal sign.

            Now what shall we do when we have a snocker in our eye?

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