Q. Why do we have a nose?
A. So we can breathe and live happily ever after or until we stop breathing. Whichever comes first.
Q. How does your nose smell?
A. It smells okay, how about yours?
Q. I don’t mean smell. I mean smell.
A. The nose itself doesn’t smell. It’s the smell inside the nose that smells.
Q. And what happens inside the nose?
A. There’s a tiny building inside the nose called the old factory. It takes in every whiff of air and incinerates it in a smelter. Smoke comes out a chimney equipped with odor eaters and sensors that relay a message to the brain’s Room of Fume.
Q. That sounds ridiculous
A. If I gave you all the proper scientific terms and formulas and rhombuses for what happens, your eyes would glaze over.
Q. That makes sense.
A. So anyway, if the odor eaters have eaten all the stinky–and produced an acceptable bouquet—the brain tells the old factory foreman “C’est magnifique! Keep smelting.” If it’s a bad smelt—meaning one or more of the odor eaters has barfed or dropped dead—the brain sends an urgent signal: “Abandon nose.” If it’s a tremendously bad smelt the brain immediately signals the feets to don’t fail me now.
Q. I have heard that a nose by any other name would still smell as sweet. True?
A. Not if the name is toes.
Q. Why do we have a little board between our nostrils?
A. You mean septum.
Q. No I mean that little board thingie.
A. It’s called a septum. It’s made out of cartilage. A board is made out of wood.
Q. But it doesn’t look like a septum because who ever heard of a septum?
A. Call it whatever you like. It’s a free country, except where there are people.
Q. So anyway, why is it there?
A. It separates the two nostrils.
Q. Why two nostrils? Why not just one?
A. You have two eyes, two ears, two arms, two hands–see a pattern?
Q. By that rationale I should have two heads.
A. No, because then you’d have four ears, four eyes, four arms, four hands and so forth.
Q. Point taken. Is it true that nostrils are named after the 16th century prophet Nostrildamus?
A. Everybody knows that.
Q. What were nostrils called before that?
A. Check it out. From a distance your nostrils look like two ugly black spots on your nose. In the old days, people found dark nose spots kind of disgusting, especially when the Black Death was in town. So they called them raisins.
Q. You know, when you think about it, nostrils also look like cave openings in the hills of Utah.
A. I’m thinking about it. Still thinking. Finished thinking. Now I’m looking up the extension for security.
Q. But is that part about the raisins true?
A. For someone who thinks a septum is a board, yes.
Q. What is a nose tackle?
A. In football, in a 3-4 defensive alignment, there are two guards but only one tackle. He lines up over the nose of the football. He is known as the nose tackle.
Q. A football has a nose?
A. In a manner of speaking.
Q. Does it have nostrils?
Q. Ears? Eyes? Arms, legs?
Q. What happens if the football is turned around? Is the new nose that is now facing the nose tackle still a nose?
A. Technically, and amusingly, yes.
Q. So a football has two noses?
A. Actually, the official term is pointy ends.
Q. If the nose tackle has a really big nose is he called the schnozzola tackle?
A. Everybody knows that.
A. Smell you later
©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013, all rights reserved.