July 7, 2000
My entire life I've heard stories about the
The problem is, it's neither functional nor
particularly decorative. No button noses in my family unless
you are referring to those big red buttons on the front of a
Yes, we have a good grip on the ozone layer.
Or so you would think.
For something so cavernous, you'd be surprised
at how little you can get through it. There isn't a single Lautens
who can draw a decent breath of air. You might as well try to
suck pudding with a straw.
And it seems to attack both sexes with an
equality that would make an affirmative action commissioner proud.
With the sensitivity that only brothers can
bring out, my sister was generally referred to around the house
as "big nose". Not that her nose was any bigger than
anyone else's in the family. It's just that she was at that awkward
age, unsure of herself and blossoming into womanhood, and my
brother and I felt obliged to inflict the maximum amount of psychological
damage allowed by a family member.
It is good for nose blowing, except it makes
the neighbourhood kids think the Shriners Circus is in town.
Because although you can't get anything into it Well, let's just
say no tissue company is in danger of closing as long as there
are Lautens around. You can tell when you're in a family member's
house because you're never more than three paces from a box of
I was going through an old pair of my Dad's
pants the other day and found the Lautens' hallmark - a wad of
paper the size of a baseball.
And between allergies, obstructions and generally
bad sinuses, we're a charming bunch to be around, day or night.
We don't believe in sleeping with anyone before marriage. Not
because we're Stockwell Day supporters, but because if anyone
heard the 4 am nose blow, they'd never walk down the aisle with
Still, it pales beside the symphony of head-clearing
honking of when we first get up.
I've had to come to terms with being a mouth
breather. There are a couple of points on the good side. It keeps
our sentences short, otherwise we'd be gasping for air. I also
never seem to get a cold. I don't think a single microbe could
wedge it's way past my constricted nasal passages.
I once had a doctor have a good look up there.
He offered to use something that looked like a mellon-baller
and hollow me out like a Halloween pumpkin, but couldn't guarantee
that it would actually help.
Strangely enough, being nasally-impaired has
given me a very selective sense of smell. Some perfumes cut through
it like a knife. I can smell roses and bread baking from a mile
(1.6 km), but a lot of unpleasant smells don't register with
me at all. I suppose I'll be a natural at changing diapers.
I thought there might be hope for the next
generation. Sadly, I've looked into the cribs of my tiny nieces
and nephews and down at their tiny perfect noses. That is, until
they try to take a deep breath and make a noise like a building
My only hope is someday they'll discover a
large bump in the human genome project that accounts for the