Please Blow

I recently saw a post on Facebook that went something like this: “I just blew my nose, and it felt great!” Now, some people might have read that post and immediately thought, “Thanks for (over)sharing,” some people might have thought, “Ew, gross,” and some people might have even thought, “Ten thousand years of technological advancement so we could have this?”

But not me. No, I took one look at that post and thought, “Preach it, brother. Preach it.” And then I went away, happier because I knew that there was at least one other person out there who had made the same discovery I had.

You see, I’m a member of the Pro-Nose-Blowing Society, a small but dedicated group of parents, teachers and doctors whose primary goal is to get children to join us in discovering just how wonderful it is to simply blow your nose. And not just children, either, but young adults: people with driver’s licenses, jobs and girlfriends. It is frightening beyond belief to think about the fact that people who are mere months away from being able to vote have not yet figured out one of the most basic rules of human physiology: if your nose runs, blow it.

This, it would seem to me, is something on the order of, “If it itches, scratch it,” but apparently not. Apparently an action that is so basic that amoebas would perform it (if amoebas had hands, noses and tissues) is still too advanced for the majority of the children and young adults I know. Apparently walking around snuffling, coughing, dripping and gasping for weeks on end is preferable to simply blowing your nose once in a while.

A friend of mine had a teacher in grade school who tried to convey the beauty of nose-blowing to her students by telling them the story of how when she was a little girl she had wondered what caveman had done when they had a runny nose—because obviously Kleenex were thousands of years away from being invented—and so, as an experiment, hadn’t blown her nose at all this one time when she had a cold. Eventually, that cold turned into pneumonia. The moral of her story (I think) was that her students should count themselves lucky to have born into a world that has discovered Kleenex, and celebrate their good fortune by blowing their noses every chance they got.

I’m not sure about her logic (I’m pretty sure people were blowing their noses before the invention of Kleenex), but I can’t help but agree with her conclusion. “If your nose runs, blow it.”

This has been a point I have been trying to make to my children since they were infants, back when they couldn’t blow their noses, and had to have it done for them with the “snot sucker.” (I think the medical term for this device is actually “bulb aspirator,” but I’m pretty sure that everyone—doctors included—secretly refers to it as the “snot sucker.”)

Man, I loved that little blue thing; I practically carried one in a holster on my hip. One baby sniffle and I was on it, sucking the mucus out of their noses before it even had a chance to crust over. Which is how I know, without a doubt, that they really should be blowing their noses now: these people can produce a lot of mucus.

Sometimes I’m tempted to unearth my trusty blue friend and sneak into their rooms at night and treat them like I did when they were babies, but the truth is I’m afraid of what I might find; from the amount of sniffling going on, there might be a Lost River of Snot up in there. And I really don’t think I’m ready to take credit for that discovery. Not quite yet.

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