We got an interesting letter from one of our readers the other day.
While the message of the missive is quite repugnant, the author’s style is clever and witty. I think such a topic might prove tasteless for readers at the breakfast table, however. So be forewarned. You may stop reading at any juncture.
The epistle reads as follows:
If you dare give yourself such a ludicrous title! I find your antics boring and offensive. Not only are your topics mundane, but they are also trifling and mundane. In other words, you are a disgrace to the journalistic profession.
Case in point: you have never taken a stand on anything, let alone passed on useful information to your readers.
Let’s take the common practice of nose-picking, for instance.
Yes, nose-picking. The craze of the Middle East, it recently has become an outlandish fashion in the Baltics and the Azores, rearing its ugly head in high society all over the oil fields of Arabia. Still, you Americans treat the art of nose-picking as a hideously disgusting social disorder.
You Westerners pick your noses in your stylish automobiles at traffic lights and think you are invisible. You rummage through your nostrils as if there was gold to be uncovered in those narrow quarters, but I can assure you, you are nothing but intellectual parasites, not fit to pass judgment on the practices of those who still depend on other modes of transportation in the arid sectors and deserts of the world.
You dare call yourself a “participatory journalist.” Why do you not reflect uproariously on the particulars of public lice, or the near-death experience caused by body building or a gag-inducing account of lower intestinal parasites? What’s not to love?
But I digress. To get back to my topic, I would also mention to your readers that I am aware that nose-picking can irritate, embarrass, and even worry parents. Chronic nose-picking can cause bleeding and spread germs, and it may be a sign of anxiety.
But most nostril probing is innocuous. Little kids are still discovering the nooks and crannies of their bodies and noses are ideal for this kind of exploration. And some children simply pick out of boredom.
Eventually, they’ll acquire social skills, self-control, and tissue savvy.
Meanwhile, to rein in wandering fingers: Children aren’t doomed to be perpetual pickers—their peers will eventually push them to stop, and they will find better things to do with their hands.
How could they know that probing your proboscis can rupture the mucous membrane, causing an infection that may find its way to your brain and create a blood clot? (You may quote me if you like.)
Some call it repulsive and others hold that it is a means of public expression. And over the centuries, this grotesque, yet popular fashion has trickled down to become utilized by the common folk of America, particularly in vogue in the reaches of the South Appalachians.
I personally have observed the ramifications of this fashion in Southern West Virginia.
In fact, I occasionally find myself enjoying a good pick every now and then.
A schoolmate of mine adopted the penname of Booger Pickens when he published his volume of poems and short stories recently.
Booger was a quiet, private person with few friends, partly no doubt because he kept his finger in his nose so much that his hand covered his mouth most of the time. One of the few things I did hear Booger say, however, was that he learned how to pick from his dad, who learned how to pick from his dad, who learned from his dad, and so on.
Some of Booger’s forebears claimed to have refined their gouging to level of art. I doubt that.
And though the consensus is that nose-picking is an offensive habit, I applaud those who dare to be different.
The recent upsurge in picking proves one vital point: You can pick your nose, and you can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your friend’s nose…
I trust you won’t think that I’ve been too picky. It’s just that I am a very critical reader.
Top o’ the morning!