Boogers: A love story
Sept. 9, 2017 at 10:30 p.m.
There are a lot of mysteries in this world we have yet to solve. Why do we all accept kale as food when clearly it's gross? Why do we all remember it as Berenstein Bears and not Berenstain Bears? Why do we all hate Anne Hathaway and her stupid face so much?
And then there's black holes and stuff.
But while there are a million think pieces on Anne's dumb horse face and our collective desire to punch it, I have yet to see professional, or even armchair, intellectuals address a much more important mystery, even though it is an issue that affects millions of households across this great nation of ours.
Yes, as common as it is, the blight of chronic toddler nose picking remains one of our last great taboos (and this is in a society that has made Irritable Bowel Syndrome a household name). So much so that even all those "Well, actually" guys who know everything about everything (but especially about whatever current topic you are discussing) are quiet on the issue. Star Wars? Feminism? The history of craft beer brewing? They're basically experts. Yet bring up boogers? Nada. A resounding silence. Nothing except for the faint, squishy sound of a small, chubby finger shoved up a tiny nostril.
Sigh. Clearly, I get easily worked up over this issue. Because this one hits close to home.
My son, my beautiful, baby boy, is a nose picker.
It started out with just the occasional experimental nasal expedition. But now? Pffft. He's gotta have a hit every 20 minutes or so.
What is up there that is so important?
I mean, there has to be a reason. It must be something. Something must be worth all those nosebleeds. Something must be worth the endless punishments he's given every time that finger finds its way back to its adopted home.
Is it nature? Some biological instinct? Although I can't imagine what survival skill is represented by this habit. Unless, perhaps it's a leftover part of our lizard brain from our caveman days? Maybe boogers were an all-organic pigment for cave drawings? Or a natural glue for the busy caveman on the go?
My own personal pride makes me doubt that it's the other side of the coin, that it's nurture. I pick my nose in secret. Like a lady.
It could have a nutritional aspect to it, I suppose. His body is probably screaming out for something with protein since all he'll eat these days is cheese crackers and chocolate-covered raisins. Do boogers have protein? Either way, it's gotta be healthier than the "cheese" (and I use that term oh-so-loosely) holding those crackers together.
Maybe the compulsion is psychological in nature. A distraction? A coping mechanism? Digging into his nose is a physical manifestation of digging into his psyche? He did watch a rather stressful "Sesame Street" episode the other day.
Is it a scientific experiment? Seeing if it's possible to touch his brain? There are days he goes past the second knuckle. He's gotta be somewhat close.
Maybe he is quite literally digging for gold. Are boogers kid currency? Has anyone investigated the seedy underworld of the kiddie black market? Two boogers in exchange for a gram of uncut Nerd candies? Three for a pack of candy cigarettes (are those even legal anymore)? An ounce of mucus mixed with blood for a used fidget spinner?
WHY DO CHILDREN DO THIS?
And more importantly, how do I get mine to stop?
Ugh. Truly, this is so frustrating. It's enough to make me want to punch someone. Where's Anne Hathaway when you need her?
Aprill Brandon is a columnist for the Advocate. Her column runs every two weeks in the Your Life section.