23 April 2011


If I may, a moment's reflection on bloody noses. They happen. They always appear to involve massive, life threatening volumes of blood but, unless prompted by having your face blown apart by alien invaders, generally do not deplete one's blood volume appreciably. Thus, a trip to the ER for a nose that has stopped bleeding is generally not worth your co-pay. I am, of course, always happy to provide saline nose spray for all comers, but I'm not sure this is notably impacting my karma.

One more thought. When you ask why children's noses bleed, I am going to mention nose picking. Dry air, superficial capillaries, yes, blah blah blah. But nose picking ranks right up there. I am not talking about you, parents, though undoubtedly your fingers as well have sneaked themselves up a nostril on one occasion or another.  Instead, I am talking about your five year old.

"Oh, he doesn't do that."

That's a quote. Not from one parent. From many parents. Word for word. Always the same. Verbatim. And they don't say it during an awkward pause. They interrupt me. They interject. It's as if it is too painful to let a moment longer pass with my thinking their child is a nose picker. They have to act. To clear his good name.

Why, oh why, the need to protest, to feign embarrassment? Do you really think that my perception of your parenting skills is greatly impacted by whether or not your child might pick their nose? Rest assured I am not going to call the PTA.

Furthermore, I'm not suggesting incessant, class disrupting booger flinging while at school, though that might be more interesting. I'm not intimating he makes a snack of snots in the playground with his friends. I'm saying, only, that his nails might have (at some point in time) damaged the mucosa of his nasal septum making him more vulnerable to bleeds.

He will still someday go to Harvard...or Yale...or whatever. Though Princeton definitely has a policy about gross stuff like that.

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