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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Examining Mucus - The Origin Of Snot

For the past few days, I have been under the weather. Nothing serious, just a common cold. Granted, it knocked me for a loop, made me take to my bed in a haze of NyQuil-induced psychedelia, tuned my voice down an octave, rattled me with fever and pulled a recurring and deliberate cough from the depths of my chest cavity that made the neighbors' already-skittish dogs howl for their Dog-Gods and piss without reserve. I may have changed the Earth's orbit slightly with the days of ceaseless coughing - I have a letter out to scientists regarding this and should hear back shortly. I am relatively certain I heard my downstairs neighbor in turn argue, then butcher his feral live-in hussy in a heated argument over the ruckus.

These things aside, I have weathered the storm admirably - some might say heroically, but I am of modest nature and prefer not to beat my own courageous drum. What is left after the fever and outright misery is the hollow bellows of a cough that I cannot shake - it has the sound of a fat man attempting to play a Sousa march on a basoon and tuba. Simultaneously, while standing knee deep in dirty water in one of those huge concrete tunnels built for vast sewage - like the one in "The Fugitive", where Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones finally come face to face and Harrison Ford says "I DIDN'T KILL MY WIFE!" and Tommy Lee says "I DON'T CARE!" and Ford jumps and great excitement ensues. One of those tunnels. Really loud and obnoxious. I have startled and frightened my co-workers over the past couple of days with the sounding of this great klaxon of impending doom, which I am mostly thankful for, because I don't like most of them and prefer to be left alone, in peace with my brilliance.

But the main source of worry was not the cough or the fever. Neither was it the fact that I never remember tasting such misery when battling a cold in my youth, which could be a faulty memory or the fact that my resistance has gone the way of the dodo, the wooden nickel and good old-fashioned common sense. What bothered me most about being down with the cold was the sheer volume of mucus that was produced by my ailing body. For Christ's sake, if I could have bottled and sold my output over the last week to some twisted auto-manufacturers that had built cars that ran on snot, I would have been a bazillionaire of Howard Hughes magnitude. And just as gross, funneling the mucusitic overflow into mason jars, hastily and diligently hauled away by my cowtowing Mormon aides.

I have destroyed what was left of a box of Kleenex and most of a roll of double-ply toilet paper, not including what has been used at work to sop up the mess, where the snot-volcano still rumbles. I Googled "Where does snot come from?" in one of my miserable hallucenagenic hazes and learned the boring fact that it is produced from various glands located around the body. The nose-snot - mucus (which is different from throat-snot, which is phlegm) is produced to keep foreign particles from being whisked into our noses, sinuses and presumably our brains. This is why if we emerge from a forest fire, we have soot stuck in our noses. Without mucus, the soot would apparently proceed straight to our lower cortex, at which time we would lose our ability to tap-dance, fold a flag or do anything but scream the words "FIRE - BAAAAAAAAAD!" when under extreme duress.

None of this explains exactly why my body felt the need to churn out the stuff like the Amish making butter. It makes no sense. I could have walked through three forest fires, a chicken farm under investigation for a lawless disregard of spooky-chicken-disease-code and the back room of a black-market Alabama funeral home and not needed this much mucus. And if I did, I should probably go live with Jesus anyhow.

While Google has done little to ease my mind over what seems to me to be an extravagant overindulgance of production, I have yet to find anything online detailing how exactly I should deal with my dilemma. Part of me is quite proud that my body is capable of producing anything other than bitter memories, animosity amongst my dearest or paranoia with such zeal - I suppose I should be proud. At the same time, I would feel odd bottling it, even if it got me into the Guiness Book of World Records - which would be awesome. I blow my nose again and sigh and launch the heavy tissue toward the garbage can. Sometimes I make it and sometimes I don't. At some point, the entire weighty mess will all have to be cleaned up and carted off, dumped and become the problem of the garbage men. Or the overachieving hoboes. Somehow, it seems like such a waste.

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