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No glove, no love
At some point last winter, I explained to my kids why I was especially fond of a specific pair of gloves.
Now, before anybody looks up the number for SRS, rest assured I normally don’t subject them to such cruel and unusual punishment. The details have faded a bit, but I’m sure it was a direct response to one of them — most likely the younger, my son — inflicting some harm on my gloves, say, trying to shred them to make bedding for his hermit crabs or concocting a science experiment to determine whether cold-weather gear might burst into flame if it spends enough time in the microwave.
Regardless of the impetus, at some point during one of my most insipid daddy diatribes, I brought down the house when I explained the terry-cloth covering on the thumb serves as a nose wipe. Nothing says top-shelf, highbrow humor to the pre-junior high set quite like snot tales. (Unless, of course, it’s what comes out the other end, which would explain why the other night my little angels entertained themselves for hours by calling each other “Poofus,” which, as far as I can tell, is the unholy hybrid of “Poop” and “Dufus.” Good stuff.)
Anyway, as soon as I explained the function of the snot-wiper, the kids disintegrated into quivering, snickering wrecks.
I let ’em get their giggle on.
After they had regained their composure, they turned skeptical.
“No, really, dad, what’s it for?” asked my daughter.
I assured her the terry was, in fact, a snot wiper.
I explained I once heard a salesman explain it as an eyeglass wipe. He said typical, wicking bike gear is hard on delicate lenses; the soft terry, he said, was to help keep glasses free of debris.
I explained he was full of snot. More laughs.
Continuing my vapid story, I told the kids I considered gloves to be among the most important part of a four-season commuter’s garb, hence my collection of bike-specific mitts: a pair for cool weather to just above freezing; my favorites, appropriate from the 40s to the teens; my really-stinking-cold-weather gloves; liner gloves; etc.
Losing my audience, I quickly went back to the snot.
Noses run in cold weather, I said, and it’s not especially convenient to stop and dig out a tissue every couple of blocks. Hence, the snot wiper. Pedal. Sniffle. Wipe. Repeat.
Predictably, my son said, “Coooool!” just as his sister wrinkled her nose and said, “Ewww!”
I explained how the poor digits, hanging off the front of the bike and, thus, dangling in the wind chill, bear the brunt of cold rides. I told how the body, in extreme cold, diverts blood to the essential organs, thus leaving the dangly bits more susceptible to the elements.
For soccer players, say, or perhaps brain surgeons, numb appendages might not be a big deal, but in my line of work, they’re trouble. It’s good to keep feeling in them, lest the next day’s sports section come out with headlines that read “Glks; asf;dljdfo eiofds;zcxv .c.,fsm.”
Having not heard a bodily fluid (besides blood) mentioned for several seconds, my kids’ eyes started to glaze.
I grabbed my extreme-cold gloves and pointed out they lacked a nose wipe. I asked my kids if they knew why.
They admitted they had no clue.
I explained they were only for the coldest conditions, when noses still run, but the air is so cold, snot freezes on the tip of the nose.
And do you know what that’s called?
“No, daddy. What?”
Again, more laughs.
My astute daughter thought a minute, then asked what I did when I reached my destination, went inside with said snotcicles dangling from my schnoz, and they started to melt.
Thanks for the straight line.
“I grab a tissue, of course. What do you think I am? A disgusting slob?”