How to Pick Your Nose: In Defense of Nosepicking, the Unjustly Maligned Hobby

By Tom Russell

Parents, educators, and the medical establishment have disparaged nose-picking for years. It’s time to stop the hate.

Nose-picking is somewhat similiar to masturbation, in that both have been villified for centuries. Only recently has masturbation come to be seen as a healthy and normal human activity. Is it something we should talk about in polite company? No. Is it something that we should be doing in front of others? Of course not. But it’s not going to make you go blind or insane or any of the other silly “dangers” that parents, educators, and the medical establishment (the PEME) had been warning us about until cooler heads prevailed.

It’s the same with nose-picking. The PEME will tell you that it is unhygenic, that it is not safe, that a retrograde infection can spread from your nose to your brain. All that’s just a load of snot.

When done properly, picking your nose is not only hygenic and safe but fun. It also has a number of benefits. There is no better way to cleanse your nostrils of excess snot, thus improving the unhindered flow of air to your lungs. Blowing your nose is hit and miss. The PEME says that if you absolutely must pick your nose, you should use a facial tissue. This is not actually a viable alternative, but rather a tricky bit of discouragement from the PEME, as it is extremely difficult to pick your nose with any sort of precision while using a tissue. Your digit of choice requires as free a range as possible within the cramped space of your nostrils; fingernails are required to carefully pull the mucous out of your nose.

Nose-picking is also a very relaxing activity. It does not require a tremendous amount of thought or effort, but it is not boring, either. In some ways, its remarkably zen-like.

To properly pick your nose, you should be in a quiet, secluded area, sitting comfortably with your back fully supported. Make sure that your hands and fingers are clean; I don’t want anyone picking their nose after changing the oil in their car, which probably will cause an infection and give the PEME more ammunition. This is a cultural war, my friends, and so it’s up to all of us to pick our noses responsibly if we are to win it.

Generally, the two digits you’ll be using are your thumb and your prime (or index) finger. The prime finger is handy for scrapping snot from the septum, or the “inner wall” that divides the two nostrils. In most noses, this area holds very little excess mucous, both because of its small surface area and its shape. In the rest of the nostril, with its spherical dome, you’ll find vast deposits. And for this, you use your handy, dandy and opposable thumb.

Probe softly and pick lightly. As a general rule, your thumb should not enter the nostril any deeper than the length of your thumbnail. Do not shove your digits into your nose, and do not enter the actual nasal cavity.

And, while we’re at it, don’t pick your nose while you’re driving. First of all, the zen-like state of happiness that nose-picking induces will distract you from the dangers of the road. Secondly, a sudden stop and you could shove your finger or your thumb right up into that nasal cavity, causing your nose to bleed. And you certainly don’t want to jab into your brain.

Now, all of this sounds dangerous, but it’s really not; the danger has been exaggerated by the PEME and their hideous anti-nosepicking agenda. By keeping your fingers clean and exercising proper caution, you can pick your nose without incident for your entire life.

It’s important to restrict yourself to the picking of excess snot. If you pick too much, there won’t be enough mucous to do its job as part of your immune system. Generally, the mucous picked during one session should be no longer than half the width of the tip of your fingernail. It should also be of such a width to fit comfortably underneath your fingernail, which brings us to the real reason why people pick their noses: so they can play with it.

Roll it between your fingers, press it into the sides of each fingernail in turn. Rolling it on your pants, particularly corduroy, can be extremely relaxing.

It is important, however, to pick the proper kind of mucous for this sort of recreational use. Gooey, light yellowish-green snot simply does not do. It’s too sticky to roll properly and is not sufficiently pliable. The dried-up and crusty variety tends to flake apart like old parchment. On the bright side, both of these are signs of excess and in removing them, you’re helping the general health of your nose.

For recreational use, you really want something akin to dark green play-doh. It rolls nicely between the fingers, it is pliable and bends to your command, and yet it holds itself together rather nicely. You should be able to play with for an hour or so before it starts to harden. I find that the more I keep it moving, bending, and reshaping, the longer it remains pliable. Keep it stationary for too long and it hardens faster.

When it comes time to dispose of your mucous, pull out a tissue and deposit your hardening snot into its center. Fold it up and toss it into the garbage. Do not leave it on a table or, God help you, under one. Once you are done, wash your hands thoroughly.

By exercising these simple cautions and by refraining from public performance, one can find entertainment, excitement, relaxation, and, perhaps, philosophy, every time they go digging for gold. This threatens the PEME, who have been taught to find these things, and happiness in general, through the acquisition of material goods and martial conquest. This saddens me, and I hope that this article, in some small way, will help the new generation reject the rampant capitalism and imperalism of the PEME.

This is why I am in favour of a Nose-Picking for Peace Day.

2007 © Associated Content

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