This story begins in childhood with my soft blue blanket. Like any child's blanket, it became a source of comfort, particularly the silk border I called "cold sides", and I would soon find the sensation of shoving these "cold sides" up my nose, extremely gratifying. Perhaps the result of an accidental slip, or an itching curiosity; the point is, my addiction was born. I spent hours perfecting the motion for a geometrically precise cone that would fit snugly into my nostril, just shy of my brain. I started to depend on the sensation around the same time it went missing, never to be seen again. I knew straight away my fat little fingers could never live up to the cone shape I was accustomed to. So after some experimentation with t-shirts, I stumbled upon an alternative -- copy paper. Before long I was grabbing invoices from my dads desk, constructing beautiful pieces of origami with incredible dexterity, and shoving them up my nose.
As I recall, dad was the first to express some concern. He would ask, in a curious tone, what I enjoyed about this kind of origamic booger picking. I'd passively mumble an explanation with my wrinkled thumb between my lips, like a moist cigar, and holding the paper cone as if it were a glass of single malt whiskey. Time went on, and it got to a point were mom and dad seriously asked me to quit. But it was my older brothers teasing and humiliation that had me considering kicking the habit. So I did the only thing I could do, I lied. Months went by where I was ostensibly "clean", which meant sneaking around and disposing of the evidence. But having never seen a criminal investigation show at the age of 6, I didn't know how to properly "take care of business", so I casually tossed them behind my dresser, out of sight and out of mind. I accumulated quite a collection, something that--with the right direction--could be a breathtaking exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art. (Perhaps a project for my later years)
Allow me to skip ahead to a casual afternoon, lying in bed, nostrils flared and occupied with a fresh paper cone. My brother walks by an open door. I quickly toss the cone into a sliver of air between the wall and dresser. "Had he seen me!? Is the game up!? How do I explain this!?" All of these concerns rushed through my head has he stopped, made a quarter turn, and pushed his tongue into his cheek. He began to make his way into my room where I was lying, very casually, hands behind my head and looking straight up as if not to notice him. "Oh, hey" I said, as I watched his delighted face glow with valuable knowledge, "whathcya doin?" he replied. I was 6, I didn't have the capacity to play it cool. I just stared in terror while the theme from "Inception" played out in my head. He moved closer with a grin that rumbled the pits of my fears. I knew he knew. He knew I knew. reaching forward in slow motion, he pulled the dresser away from the wall to a MOUNTAIN of paper cones, glazed with boogers and tumbling down like a mud slide. I jumped to my feet, bursting with tears, exclaiming "I CANT STOP!!!"
Threshold, like boogers, comes in all shapes and sizes. And I'm proud to say I've been clean for almost 18 years.