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I was a slow learner.  Naïve.  Eventually I got it, but it took a while.  Some of it was that I was raised by very traditional parents.   From a young age, whenever the booger monster attacked my nostrils, Dad always pulled an often crusty white handkerchief from his pocket to cover my nose.


Even that took a while.  I responded first by emitting little boy sized puffs from my mouth.  Cute, right?  My own kids did the same thing when we first started teaching them to blow their nose.


A half-hearted wind came from my nostrils, enough to ripple the cloth in front of my nose.  Then I got it, a real honker, and the nugget launched into the receptacle.

I refused to carry the handkerchief Dad gave to me to carry.  It was nasty.  I’m pretty sure Dad used his handkerchief until every millimeter was used up.  To this day, I am not sure how Mom can stand to throw those things in the clothes washer.  Disgusting, now that I think about it.  She probably washed Dad’s handkerchief with my underwear.  What’s worse?  Me putting on underwear that was washed with a crusty handkerchief or Dad putting a handkerchief to his nose that has been washed in crusty boy’s underwear?

For some reason, I still did not learn how to properly launch a snot rocket in high school, even though I ran track and cross country, trained outside in the winter.  Like I said, slow learner.

Then I went away to college in southwest Missouri, Joplin.  There were a lot of cowboy and football types in my dorm.  Guys with names like Harley, Cletus, Pony Boy, and…


I’m not sure I ever found out why his parents named him LaVaine.  Looks like Gary Busey now judging from the picture above.  Googling his name was easy.  No other guys named LaVaine showed up in the search, and he has pictures and video out there.

LaVaine Murphy was the football player type, had long blonde hair, and a pretty decent guy.  He filled a pulpit at a church in Oklahoma on the weekends, so I didn’t really see him much.

Our dorm had community showers on each floor.  And LaVaine blew huge, loud, gobstopping goobers like cannon blasts out of his nose every morning.  First one nostril, then the other.  I watched with pure curiosity the first time I witnessed LaVaine’s early morning shower ritual.

Economical (I thought with admiration).

My kids have LaVaine Murphy for unwittingly teaching me that habit.  Saves Kleenex, eliminates the need for a snot rag.  Every morning, my loud honks reverberate from the shower walls and throughout our house.  Mir hates it.  I think I have heard Alyssa trying it.  Nate won’t.

Everyone needs a snot mentor.