Sunday, August 8, 2010

Column Evolution

Out of sheer desperation and the need to put something up on this blog (I feel horrible pangs of guilt if I don't - such is your power over me), let me tell you about my next column and its inspirational story. I will share this with you in the jaundiced belief that it is somehow interesting or entertaining.

So yesterday I was sent packing with twenty bucks in my pocket, charged with the task of finding a cat play tower thing at a garage sale somewhere.  Long story short, I found one by asking at all places I stopped "Got any cat stuff?"  This lowered the risk of me getting out of my car, which often leads to me buying used books, gently used power tools and so forth.  I have to be careful.

So I asked this one guy if they had any cat items, and he did, so he sent his wife off to fetch the tower while he and I engaged in polite though vicious dickering, which went something like this:

"What do you want for it?"
"I don't know - how about ten bucks?"

You can detect the voice of the seasoned garage sale haggler here can't you?

Anyway, we were chatting about this and that while his small, frail wife stumbled down the stairs with the heavy and awkward item.  While chatting, I suddenly felt an outrageous tickle in my left nostril.  It was enormously powerful, no doubt caused by some lurking hair that had finally built up enough potential energy to overcome the hold back hairs that had restrained it, spring-like, thus far.

It shot out of one side of my nostril and started flapping its tip against the other side.

I gave a small gasp and began furiously rubbing my nose in an effort to quiet the horrendous tickle up there.

It didn't help.

I was now twitching my nose uncontrollably and rubbing it with some violence and neither technique was working.  The vendor I was chatting with was staring at this show with rapt fascination.  One second I was commenting on his wares and wishing him well with his sale, the next I was twitching my entire face and rubbing my nose like I was trying to start a fire with it by rubbing so violently it would perhaps produce sparks.

When these twitches and rubs did nothing to alleviate my symptoms, I was forced to insert a finger up there to bring some satisfaction.  Up to the third knuckle it went, twisting and twirling and hopefully breaking the damn hair off at its base.

No such luck.

By now I was really off my rocker.  Picking, twitching, gasping, rubbing - all in an effort to get rid of the horrible tickling menace that was my proboscis.  I couldn't stand it.

The man asked "Are you all right?"  He must have thought I was some sort of crack addict in desperate need of a score.  I tried to lighten the atmosphere, which had quieted since a small crowd had gathered to watch me pitch some sort of fit.  "I have a hair up my nose!" I said, trying to explain.  "It tickles!"  I don't think this explanation did much to assure them that I was normal. 

Then I remembered that I carry a finger nail clipper on my key fob.  I rushed over to a tacky dresser with its dreadful 1970's style mirror, leaned up close to it, and inserted my finger nail clippers into the offending tubule.  I began frantically clipping in a style reminiscent of one of those old push-style lawn mowers. 

All the while I was gasping and moaning, such was my distraction. 

The clippers proved less than adept for this task.  I found they mainly pulled the hairs inside my nose out by the roots, causing more gasps of pain and surprise, and also causing me to cry - eyes welling upin a small flood. 

Time stood still.  Intensely focused, I lost track of where I was and what was going on around me.  Finally I must have snipped the blighter because the itch suddenly went away.

Tears streaming down my face, nicked nose starting to bleed, small hairs sprayed over my cheeks, I turned away from the mirror, smiling and at peace.

I beheld a crowd of twenty or so onlookers who began applauding.  "That was the best show I've seen in a long time!" one old fart said.

"When is the next performance?" said another.

"Will you be touring?" said a third.

 I'm sure the newly arriving patrons of this sale were curious as to why the smiling man with kleenex wadded up his nose was leaving the scene in some haste. 

I didn't have time to tell them it is not often you find what you are hunting for at a garage sale.

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