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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA

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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

In Dogged Pursuit of Scientific Discovery

If you don’t understand it, it’s probably because you just don’t like it.

So, I’m wondering — idly, to myself, though of course that’s about to change — whether dogs have nose hairs. You know, inside.

Maybe I should explain how I got to this particular train of thought before the men in their little white coats arrive.

“You don’t cure jock itch, for instance, by slamming little Frankie and the twins with a car door, though I think it’s safe to say that the itching would take a rather distant back seat for a while if you did.”

It’s simple, really. First, my nose started to itch. You know, inside. This happens with a fair degree of regularity, and I’ve found that hair is often the culprit. At least, I think it’s the culprit. All I can really say for sure is that there’s itching, and then the hair is discovered, and then there’s a short burst of intense pain and that need-to-sneeze feeling when the hair is removed, and then there’s no more itching. Maybe the hair’s to blame all along, but I also recognize the possibility that the trauma of yanking things out of the fleshy inside bits of one’s nose may simply overwhelm whatever irritation caused the itching in the first place. You don’t cure jock itch, for instance, by slamming little Frankie and the twins with a car door, though I think it’s safe to say that the itching would take a rather distant back seat for a while if you did.

So. Now I’m posed with a dilemma.

(No, I’m not considering smashing my naughties in my Nissan, I’m back to the nose thing already. Let it go.)

Here’s the thing — I’m not a nose picker; really, I’m not. I don’t pick my own, and I only rarely pick my wife’s (though I might do it more often if she’d let her guard down once in a while). But I know what’s needed to put the kibosh on the itching going on up in my snooter, and it involves some rooting around, preferably with an instrument of some sort, and then something akin to weed-pulling. All of this would be just peachy if I were in the comfort of my own home, with my handy-dandy silver-plated Ronco personal grooming kit by my side. But I’m not. All I’ve got here is my wits, my fingers, and a semi-private bathroom down the hall. Well, that and a few ink pens, but I’m not going down that road again — last time I went there, I couldn’t see out of my left eye for a week.

Anyway, the options are not good. So far, I’ve tried to manage with a lot of nose scrunching, and nostril flaring, and rubbing the top of my nose, and underneath, and the sides, when what I really want to do is jump in there with both feet and a Weed-Eater and throw down. Sadly, that sort of thing is frowned upon in polite society, and probably even in the places that I’m allowed to frequent, so I refrain. And itch. And flare, and scrunch, and rub, and godammit, this sucks ass!!

Okay, deep breath. Let’s regroup. We’ve all been faced with these sorts of challenges, and we’ve made it through the rain. Let’s look at the list of socially acceptable options available to me. I could:

A) Call it a day, head home, and tweeze the living shit out of the inside of my honker in the comfort of my own bano.

2) Sit here and continue to sniff, prod, wrinkle, and scratch like a coke fiend, and hope the Nose Hair Fairy comes and waves her magic follicle to make all my worries go away.

III) Trudge down the hall to the office bathroom, lock myself in a stall, and have myself a little excavation party.

Certainly, the last option is the most convenient, and perhaps the one to which I’ll end up succumbing. But there’s always been something a little deviant about sitting on a shitter and doing anything besides what you’re expected to be in there doing. Namely, making a number one or two, browsing through literature of some kind, or reading graffiti. Those are the only sorts of activities that are supposed to be supported by a bathroom stall, and this is not an area where I’m normally interested in breaking new ground.

(As an aside, I’d like to share my very most favorite bathroom graffiti moment ever. I was shagging flies in a cozy little stall in Pittsburgh, PA. (Damn, that sounds cool — I mean, I’ve never used ‘shagging flies’ as a euphemism for pinching loaves or dropping nougats before, but that sentence sounds like the start of a Springsteen song or something…)

Anyway, I was sitting there, reading the usual graffiti on the walls: ‘yo mamma’, ‘lick me’, elaborate drawings of topless women, and big schlongs, and topless women with big schlongs… pretty standard fare.

And then I saw this scrunchy, tiny inscription on the wall, past the paper holder, just inches from the door. But I couldn’t quite make out what it said. So I leaned in closer, and closer, and it was really, really tiny, and finally I could just stretch forward enough and squint hard enough to read:




Well, maybe it’s just me, but I’d’ve crapped in my pants if they hadn’t been draped around my ankles at the time. You really never want to laugh out loud in a public crapatorium stall, but I did. And all I could think was, ‘Yes. Yes I am.’ I owe some smartass out there a beer…)

Now. Where the hell was I? Oh, right, Roto-rooting my Durante.

So, anyway, to make a long story only marginally shorter, I’ve (obviously) been obsessed with nostril hair for some time now. And it got me to thinking (wishfully, I might add) about that little pile of nose hairs that you accumulate (on a tissue, or by the sink, or in your wife’s jar of cold cream, whereever) when you’re actually able to get in there with the tweezers and get all up in your bidness. All those short little hairs, all the same length, piled up willy-nilly like driftwood on a beach. And that’s exactly the kind of hairpile that I noticed last night on our dog’s blanket — twenty or thirty in all, in a neat little stack, and too short to be proper dog fur. Well, I didn’t think much about it at the time, but now — afflicted as I am with my current condition — now I have to wonder: could the dog go through the same hellish nightmare that I’m currently enduring? And if so, then were those really doggie nostril pubes that I saw last night? And if so, how the hell did she get them out? Our dog can’t take a dump without stepping in it; now I’m supposed to believe she’s coordinated enough to tweeze?!

(While we’re at it, don’t you think there’d have been just a smidgen of evolutionary pressure on dogs to not tiptoe through the turdies when they’re squeezin’ out the cigars? Really, c’mon — how long have dogs been around, and wolves before them? Ten, fifty, a hundred million years? I mean, I learned to walk around my Baby Ruths after I’m done parking them, and it only took me sixteen years!

(Okay, sixteen and a half. Still!)

I would’ve really thought that by now all the shit-steppers would be weeded out, and all we’d have left are dogs with shiny, happy sanitary feet. But no. From a lifetime of smelly, nasty experience, no. It’s almost enough to drive you to cats, fastidious little peckers that they are…)

I’m sure I was leading toward something… Oh, right, my dog’s nose. (As usual.)

Well, now I’m curious. I’ve never noticed my dog having nose hairs before, but to be fair, I’ve never really flung an eyeball up there to check, either. But now I’m gonna; I’ve got to know. Maybe she’s got the secret that’ll free me from my boogery chains that bind. Of course, this is not a mission that I undertake lightly. Besides the problem of getting the dog to hold still, and not drool or snot or pee all over me, there’s also the matter of equipment. I don’t think I’ll need the jaws of life or spelunking gear or anything, but it’s dark up them holes!

(How often do you find yourself saying that, hmm?)

So I’ll need a flashlight, and maybe a…er, spreader of some sort. Like a tongue depressor, maybe, just to get a good look around the landscape.

But that’s not the biggest problem, of course. The biggest problem is that my wife will saunter in while I’m in the middle of my little experiment. And believe me, the last thing you want in your marriage is to be seen holding the dog in a headlock, with a flashlight in your mouth and a tongue depressor in your hand, saying, ‘Hold still, girl, this’ll only take a second.’

So, I don’t know, and I can’t stand this torture any longer. I suppose I’ll leave the dog and her mysteries alone for now, and concentrate on doing a little deforestation in my own Department of Interior. I managed to dig up a plastic spork, so if I can just find some eye protection, I think I’ll hit the head and go to work. If you’ll excuse me…

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