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Something 'Salty'

by Robert Betts (Age: 71)
copyright 04-23-2002

Age Rating: 13 +

For a number of years our Boot Key Harbor Ad Hoc Committee tried to decide if Boot Key Harbor should be a no-wake zone. Eventually the committee was declared a no-awake zone and disbanded when the National Marine Sanctuary people showed enough sense to declare areas near stationary boats, navigational aids and occupied shorelines to be no-wake.

While all this was going on, I decided to deal with a more pressing issue about which several boaters expressed concern: "What is the proper procedure to pick one's nose?" Failure to deal with the problem can be very hazardous indeed. I once shared a boat with a man whose golden globule concentrated the sun's rays and the resultant heat set his moustache on fire. Hey, what could I do? Could a skinny guy like me tell a Sumo wrestling champion that he might consider wiping his nose? It just isn't done by those of us who value our lives.

Let's deal with reality. Every mother says, "Johnny, don't pick your nose!" But Mother picks hers in the privacy of the bathroom when she thinks nobody is looking. Johnny learns to pick his by watching mommy pick hers... when she is convinced nobody is looking. We all do it; we learned from mommy.

You might assume a simple solution is to always carry a handkerchief. Ha! Like the roof... On a rainy day it is too wet to repair but on a sunny day why bother, since there's no rain to leak in. Besides, how are you to keep a box of kleenex dry in a dinghy? Happily, several solutions are available.

Sniffling is always an option. Be advised, your neighbor might suspect that you are suffering from some deadly, contagious disease. The occasional appearance of snot-bubbles may steer his thinking to slimy shades of reptilian green, greasy gray, bilious yellow and sinister black. He might even vomit, adding his own particular color scheme as a commentary.

If you are wearing a long sleeved shirt you have a ready-made solution. But what about stains, you ask. Colored shirts and prints might be best, since any discoloration would not be so obvious. Without benefit of a government grant of half a million dollars, I undertook a scientific experiment to determine if shirt sleeves would stain when used in this manner. Happily God designed us well. Not only is there no permanent damage but the residue can be flicked off with a thumbnail when dry. This is not advisable on white shirts and should never be done by a bridegroom at his wedding since he might find himself brideless.

In the last century the Victorians invented cufflinks for use during weddings. The object was to remind one not to wipe one's nose on one's sleeve. Diamond studded cufflinks were downright dangerous. They were outlawed by the hemophiliac Hapsburgs since they were likely to cause a Royal nosebleed, resulting in the death of the heir to the throne.

Hiding in some manner is the logical solution. Your own bathroom, on a boat -the head- is likely the best place to hide and pick your nose in peace. As a bonus you can eliminate other excess substances from your body. Public bathrooms are not advisable these days since with the advent of video surveillance they are often in fact just that - public.

The fan is an ancient device which has been used to cool ladies almost since time began. It also serves a lesser known function. Ladies have always laughed. In fact many of the notices on computer dating services read, "I'd like a man who can make me laugh." Demure young ladies have always equipped themselves with a fan. Why? Because sometimes a laugh could come out the wrong opening and might appear with a less desirable substance. What is a lady to do! Why, hide behind a fan of course.

Boaters are often known to possess binoculars for observing heavenly bodies, some of them earthbound. To avoid detection, a shield of some sort is necessary so one can pick privately in a cockpit or dinghy. Landlubbers often wonder why boaters are such avid readers. Actually they are even more avid pickers, in fact I know a number of boaters who can't even read but possess several books.

As a nautical aside, since this is a nautical article, betcha never realized that the famous Capt. Horatio Hornblower had a proboscis which would cause Jimmy Durante to blush with envy. When he trumpeted, he often received responses from female African Elephants who mistook him for a virile male of amorous intent. It is also a little know fact that before he trumpeted he used the equivalent of half a box of kleenex to be sure an accidental discharge didn't cause his ship to list dangerously to one side. He also kept a box near his bed to take care of nocturnal emissions (of the proboscis, that is).

Happily, our unfortunate Committee is now defunct. There will be others, though, who will attempt to make our daily lives a living hell. Save a copy of this and present it when needed. It kept the Ad Hoc committee busy for months trying to find ways to toast me, and I don't mean with a drink. Meanwhile they were so tightly bound up, a laxative wouldn't have helped.

As a final word on the subject let me leave you with these words of wisdom. While it is quite OK to pick your own nose, it is definitely not acceptable to pick your neighbor’s.

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        07-23-2006     Greg Kis        

What an appropriate name for Horatio - considering his plight. I thought this work very clever - considering all the legislation that is passed in the world we live in. Is nothing left for our own discretion? Sometimes we are thought of as not having any common sense at all. The older I get I - I see they might be right.

I do recall a cartoon - Stimpy proclaims with pride "I picked them myself."

        05-25-2006     BJ Niktabe        

Hmmm...the art of nose picking. Who would've thought there was such a thing. The detail with which you've inundated us, leaves little to the imagination. Indeed, this is an educational piece. After all, who knew why cufflinks were invented? All this time, I thought they were just fancy accessories on a sleeve!
Thank you for the laugh!

        04-11-2005     Brian Dickenson        

I am practically at a loss for
I have never before come across a treatise on the subtle art of nose picking.
Thank you for furthering my education.
Brian Dickenson

        04-08-2005     Mary -BrytEyz- Ball        

LOLOLOL! This is-snot bad! *wink* My husband and I have a distinct sense of humor, some call his dry, and some call mine simply "off"... but we both got a good chuckle out of this one. He told me that Napoleon invented buttons on uniform sleeves for this very reason, and that you must be quite intelligent. I grinned and said, "He must be." :-)

        02-01-2002     Betty Eskdale        

Movie stars get to pick their noses, but in an entirely different way, witness Ann Margaret after her accident.
I am just being a brat here, "pun"ishing you for writing on such an earthy topic, yikes! My friend Julie wrote about this on WOW and attributed the habit to her Royal Highness, which really shocked me (not that the Queen does it, but that Julie should know about it, where do you people get such unusual information)Must give you full marks for such a thorough article (which should not really be read just after breakfast). I would add a "squeamish" disclaimer.....

        04-01-2001     Nan Jacobs        

Omigaw, how did i miss this one before.... You have me laughing the (what-not) outta me schnozz...... Geeeeeeeeeeez, hand me a tissue, QUICK!!!!!!!

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