My nose and I have been through a lot together.
It gave me an indelible, life-long memory of New Orleans' Bourbon Street at 4 a.m., just when the trash and vomit comingle to create that special scent I'll always remember as, "after-after party."
Through years of eating, it's honed a fine sense of restaurant detection -- just by smell, I can tell if someone in the newsroom just picked up Wendy's or McDonald's, or if the Chinese restaurant I just walked in to has served up teriyaki chicken or MSG-free pork dumplings.
My nose alerts me to possible B.O. offenses. It loves it when a sweet-smelling lady walks by. My nose gets unhappy with the state of the garage kitty litter box before the cats have even noticed.
Which is what makes this entry so hard. I don't like embarrassing my nose. My nose puts up with a lot of shit. Sometimes, literally. And to drag my nose through the mud, to reveal the latest violation of my two-nostriled friend... I just hate to do it.
I blame my boss. He got the idea into my head, and once it was there, it lodged like a blood lusty tick. He raved about how he was using the Pot every night and then able to achieve a newborn-infant state of sleep each night. I had to try it. I had to see if it worked.
So I bought a Neti Pot.
It's okay if you don't know what a Neti Pot is. I didn't know what one was until about three days ago. It is, essentially, a porcelain little container that looks like a nice small teapot, or if you're feeling especially whimsical, like a simple genie's lamp, sans top.
And what you do with it, see, is... You, um... You take the spout? The spout on the side? And you, um.
You stick it up your nose. Until it creates a seal.
You have a solution of warm water and some non-idiozed salt (sea salt, or even a pickling salt/baking soda mix) and you run about eight ounces of that in one nostril and out the other. You have to turn your head sideways like in those old Taco Bell 45-degree angle commercials where Shaq had the neck injury. You run the water through and then you repeat the process the other way.
It's a nostril bidet. A nose enema. A schnoz-colonic. I'm thinking of getting some dancing lights and a statue of a little peeing boy put up there.
The absolutely obscene thing about this violation of your nasal membrane is that the shit works. I know! It absolutely shouldn't. Nothing that seems so gross should have any appreciable value in our lives, but damned if it doesn't clear you right out, like a good bowl of bran to the bowels.
Not that it's easy. The first time you do it, it's incredibly comical. One minute you're holding your breath, willing your nose to do what normally you're mortified to find it doing in any kind of social setting: Leaking. The next minute, you've got a little stream going, dribbling all down your mouth and chin. If you look in the mirror, as I unfortunately did the second time I Neti Potted (yes, I'm using the verb tense. Ancient Chinese secret, huh?), I could see it wasn't a simple water stream. It was a lumpy water-aliens-from-The Abyss consistency.
I'll say it for you: Ewwww.
The other wonderful thing is there there are pictures of people on the Web demonstrating various kinds of Neti Pots. And none of them look like my little white porcelain wonder. Instead people are using what look like giant watering cans. I mean, either they've just got huge noses, or their drainage is enough to clog a Danish dam. It looks like one big Web hoax -- like somebody is trying to sell a foolish product that would never work, the Nasaltron 3300, or something.
The thing you do have to be careful about is not to inhale through your nose when you're getting your Neti on. Then it's just like being at the beach and swallowing a bunch of seawater when you're not ready; you feel like you're about to choke. Instead, you have to just breathe through your mouth and let the gentle, salty stream run its snotty course.
You might think this is gross, but trust me, allergies are much grosser. There's nothing worse than the clogged-head, dribbly, sneezy feeling you get every morning from the crap that floats in the air every day. If you don't have allergies, than kindly keep your, "Ew, nasty" comments to yourself.
If you Neti-culate right before bed, you have super-clear sinuses and, consequently, you might get a better night's sleep than you're used to. All this week, I've had lots more energy and have woken up not in a tortuous, why-is-the-world-against-me? kind of way, but in a more chipper, ready-for-the-world-"Oh-Sheila" manner. Hell, maybe if I keep this porcelain baby in my nose long enough, I'll someday be a morning person.
So, yes, nose, I know you don't like being porcelain-holed and you certainly don't like people hearing about it, but come on. This is a goddamned public service. People need to know about the magical Neti and her funky Nose Pots.
Don't leave your nose wanting.
I'm super excited about this online project I'm working on and am really close to announcing the 10 participants. Keep an eye on this space and on online journal forums for more information. Wish I could say more, but I promise I'll talk more about it next week when I get back from my trip.
What trip? I'm off to Seattle for the big Sketchfest! A few Terribly-Happy readers have been kind enough to say they're going to come see our show and maybe even take us out for drinks, so that's exciting. For those going to Journalcon, I hope you have a great time. I really hate that I'm going to miss it this year.
Hey, look at this! Stuff to buy! Haaawwwt-Damn!
Image courtesy of The Society for the Preservation of Phallic History.