The Booger cheer: Pick it! Lick it! Roll it! Flick it! In an effort to explain my fascination with this "boogery subject" I will recount a story to you. There was a little girl who loved to read and she found, in a book of poetry, a children's booger poem. It was about a snaggled toothed snail that lives in everyone's nose. Now this snail, if you are careless enough to stick your finger too far up inside your nose, will bite the end of your finger off. I, of course, am that little girl, and you would have paid good money the first time I met a man with his finger amputated. I could not take my eyes off him. I asked to feel his finger, and finally, unable to contain myself, I asked innocently, "Did it hurt when the snail bit you?" The man had no idea what I was talking about. My dad had to explain to the man, and as I grew up, an idea began to form. Years ago, just after getting out of college, I worked at a children's home for a while. It was very satisfying work because it was helping abused, unloved, unhappy, and confused kids regain a perspective on life. I loved each one of them. I did notice one thing though. All kids love to talk about boogers. Boys especially love them, and they have a great time chasing girls around with them. It is ironic that later in life, the girls chase the boys, trying to catch them to wipe their noses. I was soon using the idea I had begun to form to entertain these children. Each afternoon, I would sit and make up a tale about each type of booger, giving them adventures from which the boogers would barely escape with their color. Eventually it became necessary to introduce the newer children to the world of boogers. This is the result: Did you know there are seven distinct families or types of boogers? Oh, yes, let me introduce them to you. They are red, flakey, hard, green, gummy, sticky, and yellow. Okay, so now you know the seven types, and, no, I did not adapt this from the seven dwarves. There is no princess in this story and no hankies. If you don't have a hanky, let me give you a suggestion, go get one. Boogers are an empathetic lot, and if you talk about one of them you talk about all of them. So if you notice your nose running as you read this, BE PREPARED. Each type of booger has distinct characteristics. I feel it is important for you to know them so you may properly identify what you have captured from your nose. Let's start with red ones. Red boogers are usually caused when someone has become over anxious and shoved his finger far enough up his nose to make contact with his brain. The result is a certain amount of blood mixes with the forming boogers. Hence we end up with some very dark red boogers. These booger babies can be dangerous. First: because trying to remove them may cause further damage to the wound you created as you pushed ever deeper, and second, the fact that giving birth to anything can be painful. Red boogers are usually short-lived and cause very little problem. It should also be noted that unless due care is taken, repeated insertions of the fingers may result in severe pain and possibly brain damage. One thing concerning boogers I have forgotten to explain to you: each family of booger has several relatives; these are boogers that share characteristics. This is most noticeable with the hard ones which when examined closely reveal a kinship with our next subject. So let's move on to the flakey boogers, which are related to two of the major groups but would perhaps earn a spot of their own if they were more common. These multicolored jewels are usually formed around the exterior of the nose and are as flakey as the finest pastries (no snacking between meals please). If they reside just inside the nose (and are male, as most boogers seem to be), they will actually be hard but sticky and as such become quite hairy, for as the owner tries to remove them, he inevitably removes hairs and all. (Ouch!!!) I would like to skip to the true "hard" kind next. The real hardcore hard-nosed booger is very tough to deal with. Nasty little things, indeed, they bury themselves deep within your nose and force you to dig them out. Hard as diamonds, they will bring tears to your eyes as you try to catch them, and they try to escape your search going ever deeper. Hard boogers are the inspiration of many a young lad. I have even heard that some children are so enamored of what they call "Snot Rocks," that they made up songs for them. The song was passed down for safe keeping and faithfully reproduced in part here. It goes something like this: "I look up your nose and what do I see? Snot rocks! Tiny faces looking back at me." Some even swear they hear tiny voices singing along. It is sad that these real hard cased boogers hurt so very badly. If you have them frequently, maybe you really ought to try blowing your nose more often. Okay, now easing off just a little, let's discuss the simple green booger. This is by far the most common of the seven types. Grown in the nose of every child, it is harvested more in a single day than any other commodity known to man. These little packets of joy are the ones kids seem to love to use to chase you. There is nothing remarkable about them, yet they cause more squeals than all the scary movies made. You just have to love anything that is so unassuming and yet so powerful. Green boogers can take on some characteristics of all the other types. The one telltale identifier is that they are green and usually have short careers because moms everywhere are alerted to them. Gummy boogers are basically colorless until they pick up the color of dirt or some other equally disgusting hint of a hue. These little blobs can be so much fun, rolled into little balls and held between finger and thumb you would almost swear they had opened their little eyes and winked at you. You find them where you least expect and wish you hadn't. Some adventuresome young man uses one to stick his paper to the wall. You may see another absentmindedly using one for a football, and as it sails across the room, you can almost hear a small yell of glee as it sticks in some poor girl's hair. They appear to be the most fun loving of the whole lot. Sometimes I think no day would be complete without them. In truth, gummy boogers are used more every day than tooth paste. They also encourage collecting. I know one young man who has a jar full and has named each and every one of his little friends. A related younger brother of the gummy booger is the sticky booger; these have not completely matured and are drawn out of the nose in a long string...if you have ever had to remove one then you know that odd feeling in your stomach that feels like it has just been turned upside down and the contents have become totally confused. (Yeech.) I know of no common use for these because they are so hard to get rid of. Once you have them trapped, they attach themselves to your finger, hankie, or paper towel and refuse to budge, not that anybody really wants to budge them. If left to themselves, they will dry to resemble the flakey booger. Mostly colorless and totally disgusting, this is my least liked booger. Ah, almost done, does that nose feel nice and clean now? Well, we have one more type to deal with, then we can all go blow our noses. The yellow booger is slimy and ugly. They seem to inspire instant dislike. No, they are not related to any particular ethnic group. They are yellow usually because they are afraid. Yes, cowards, not to hurt their feelings, but they are messengers and as such should be brave hearted and know that occasionally they will have to sacrifice their lives to the betterment of man. These guys don't show up unless you have some serious infection, and they, being the way they are, will try to hide it as long as possible. If you see them, quickly make your way to see the doctor and do not leave till he tells you that you will live. Remember with these fellows, it is best to not start a trading club, keep your own, no sharing. OKAY! You say, "What is the purpose of this little story?" Simple, it is gross, and it is nasty, and it can be funny, and if you talk to kids about it, you will have a quiet audience for the length of the story. That is between the bursts of laughter. It helps if you stop occasionally and find one of the kids absentmindedly picking his nose while you tell the story and shout "Careful, Billy! If you chase that one too far, the snail will get your finger!" It is total nonsense, and the kids will love it. Good luck, and we will send free illustrations if you wish. If you smiled, I accomplished my goal; if not, then the only thing I have lost is feeling the warmth of your smile.