Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Right There Below Our Eyes

Sometimes I look at someone's nostrils, or mine even, and think, "Whoa...that's weird. There are two holes in the middle of that face. Just right there in the middle of that face." Like straws. Big, old open straws just sucking air in psssssshhhhh and out psssssshhhhhh. Big, old straws with tiny hairs inside (or not so tiny- see memory image of mine from an old man's funeral circa 1994. That man had some massive silvery wires protruding from his nostrils. While in the casket. Couldn't someone have trimmed those things?)

The relationship we have with our noses is funny. I've seen people cradle their chin in their hand and tap their nose with their pointer finger. Tap. Tap. Tap. Helps them think, I think.

I've seen a little kid strapped into a grocery cart, mashed food in his hair, one shoe on and one several feet down the cereal aisle, mom comparing calories or nutrition value or somesuchthing while holding up a box of Kashi in one hand and some name-brand organic shit in the other. I've seen the kid insert his tiny finger into his nostril while staring me down. No shame. I've seen his finger root and root and root even as I squint my eyes disapprovingly, scrunch my nose, and shake my head in a no-no way that surely he must recognize. I've seen him keep on digging, occasionally pulling his finger out and holding it inches from his face. Nope. Still empty. Back in it goes.

I've seen adults do the same. In their car. I've seen the quick pick, the flick pick, the twist and root, the rub side to side, the hold and blow, and the old-school hanky swipe. I've seen it all- exposed by the false sense of security provided by a see-through driver's-side window.  They are see-through, don't you know.

Once I saw a picture of a guy whose nose froze and fell the hell off.  He was climbing an icy mountain- a big one- Everest, I think- and fell face first into the snow. There he remained until his friends found him. Not really his friends. Because I think he was essentially left for dead at first. But eventually, he was found. With a big burnt-marshmallow looking thing where his nose used to be.

So, he comes back to the states and his doctor is all, "Oh, yeah...I can fix that. I'll just take some of your ear and make a nose out of it...on your forehead. When it's all ready, we'll cut it and twist it around where your old nose used to be."  No shit. This guy grew a new nose upside down on his forehead. 

I'd like to have a nose upside down on my forehead. I mean, not where anyone could see me. Or maybe I would. Either way, in the privacy of my own home, I'd do things like see if I could gargle with it, or make bird sounds like those plastic bird whistles that you put water in and blow into. I'd put little flowers in there, like mini vases (that's "vases" like "faces," not vah-zus, by the way.) I would never let a gnat land in, on, or around my upside-down nose.

I try not to look too long at my nose, say, when I'm putting on makeup. I kind of work around it. Not that I have anything against it- it's just that I don't want to get mesmerized by the weirdness of it, that's all. Not that my nose is any weirder than anyone else's. It's small-ish with an Irish upturn that looked a lot cuter on me as a 3-year-old than it does now. Now it just looks like I might have been holding it up with my thumb, making a "nanny, nanny, boo-boo" at you behind your back and got busted. Only my thumb's not up there. But, that's okay. At least I have one.

I am a bit impressed by the flexibility of our noses. Reach up there and twist it around a bit. I mean to say, wiggle it from side to side. Flatten it. Bend the cartilage and squeeze the nostrils. Now try to do that with your elbow. Ha! Not so easy, is it? That's because the elbow is dummer than the nose. Or at least has less cartilage. I like to take my thumb and pointer finger of my right hand and play nose ski slope. It goes like this: My thumb rests in between my nostrils while my pointer finger is placed on the bridge of my nose- right between my eyes. Then, in one smooth swoop of a motion they're off! and they speed towards one another- the two fingers, that is- meeting at the tip of my nose. This can be done 5 or 6 times in succession and I believe you will find the results to be meditatively satisfactory. At least, I do.

Tonight, when I go to bed, I will inhale deeply through my face holes- the kind of inhaling that makes my tummy quiver. After holding in my breath for several seconds, I'll allow the air to rush back out with such force I may even feel it on my hands resting below. Bizarre face holes, I'll think. And I'll be happy to have them.


  1. The human body has a lot of holes. Ear holes, mouth holes, assholes, other holes . . . For whatever reason, nasal holes are discriminated against the most. If I went and stuck my finger in any other one of my body holes. . . well that'd be kind of gross, too. But that destroys my point; the nasal passage is just like a nice little place to stick a finger and dig. You just gotta dig that shit out.