I know I am not the only person who has had this happen to them because I have witnessed the dilemma from both sides of the table.
The other day I spent a few minutes chatting with a buddy of mine after church. Nothing odd or embarrassing about that – well, wait for it.
The conversation was not the problem. The problem was I had a booger hanging from my nose that was just slightly smaller than a Smart Car.
I had no idea this Green Monster of Ick was crawling its way out of my nose ready to destroy the world like a Canadian version of Godzilla.
However, as soon as I ran into the Missus, she kindly pointed out I had this thing sticking out. The only thing that kept it from escaping completely was my abundant nostril hair.
Now, the question is: was the Booger of Doom hanging out the entire time I was talking to my buddy, or did it get loose after the conversation?
He never said anything about it, so maybe it wasn’t there.
But if I were on the other side of the situation would I mention it was there?
“Hi Gary, how are ya? Good to see you. By the way, you have a giant snot slinky slithering out of your nose. So, how are the wife and kids?”
It is not something you can casually slip into a conversation without the recipient of the news feeling at least somewhat embarrassed.
And once the protruding bit of nose phlegm is pointed out, what then?
Does the bearer of the booger just go macho and wipe it away with their hand?
If they do, will you shake their hand at the end of the conversation? I thought not.
They could excuse themselves, head to the nearest box of tissues and reign in the offending piece of matter, which is probably the most sanitary and least disgusting thing to do.
Of course, the conversation is over at that point.
“Sorry pal, I’ll be right back I just have to shake this booger loose.”
Not many conversations get restarted after such an interruption, unless the conversation is about boogers hanging from your nose. If so, you have the perfect conversation starter at hand, or rather, in nose, or should it be partway out of the nose?
I don’t know, booger etiquette has never been my strong suit.
When you are a kid, having a greenie hanging out is a topic of laughter from the boys and, usually, an ‘Ewwww, gross’ from the girls.
Why boys find gross things funny is a topic for another column.
But the younger the kid, the less they care about nasal discharge. Every parent out there has seen their kids come home with ‘glassy sleeves.’
To a kid, sleeves were invented to be portable tissues.
What other purpose do they serve than to slide across your nose? To a kid, none. Being a snot collector is about all they do.
And children use the full length of the forearm – from elbow to wrist – without so much as a second thought.
Hey, I can remember being far too busy playing to go find a tissue and wipe my honker every few minutes.
Besides, I had these cool sleeve things that were the perfect built-in tissue. The sleeve device was always with me, I had two of them should one lose its absorbency and I did not even have to stop playing to take care of the situation.
Of course, as an adult I now know how truly revolting walking around with a sleeve or two covered in nose goo is, which is a strong argument for washing the children’s clothes separately from the civilized people in the house.
Like death and taxes, boogers are a part of life.
I just hope to avoid all three for as long as possible.