aliens in my nose

for those readers who are squeamish or otherwise uninterested in hearing about bodily functions, go ahead and skip this one. alternatively, if you feel like hearing a profound philosophical discourse using something that came out of my nose as a starting point, please continue!

every once in awhile, something comes out of your body that looks like it really didn’t belong there in the first place. i have to give my body a hand on these occasions for a job well done. it’s good to know someone’s in charge of keeping things in order. i may not always agree with the timing or manner of ejection, but i can’t really complain. after all, body knows best, right?
now, unless you’re being used as an incubator for the Alien of movie fame, things your body forcibly ejects are probably going to come out of one of three natural points of egress: nose, mouth, or bowel terminus (aka your bum).
stuff that comes out of your mouth is usually a multicolored mess that could only be mistaken for something living on the rarest of occasions. more often than not, it’s just a pile of slop whose character is determined by your most recent dining experience. mmm…spaghetti and spumoni ice cream! on second thought, your mouth can produce one other tasty treat: lung oysters, usually ejected at high velocity after a lung-rattling cough. these don’t really look alien per se, although they could be seen as evidence of aliens passing by recently.
on the opposite end of things, what comes out of your bum can vary a bit. if you’ve been having a tough time of things, colonically speaking, it will probably look similar to mouth-based ejecta, although smell a lot worse. nothing alien here. a second option, if you haven’t been eating your fiber but are otherwise healthy, is a pile of very small rocks. finally, if you have been eating your fiber, we can get some primitive life forms; nothing fancy here – think large, slow-moving ground slugs. a gastorenterologist could probably offer a richer taxonomy of bum-based offspring, but i’m trying to keep things simple.
and then we come to the nose. the real aliens, my friends, come out of your nose.
not always. sometimes, your nose is the most benign of orifices, only offering clear liquid when blown vigorously. it just sits there on your face, looking a little odd, maybe offering a glimpse of something it shouldn’t, but otherwise, totally harmless.
until it turns itself into an incubator. that’s when your nose becomes a threat. think about the inside of your nose: it’s hot; it’s wet; it’s dark. the perfect place for nasty things to happen. imagine an alien planet, with humid, murky swamps filled with horrors H.P. Lovecraft would admire: multi-legged, slimy, tentacled, and thoroughly unprincipled when it comes to things like face eating. that’s what’s going on in your nose when you’ve got some virus or bacteria that’s decided to use you as a host.
in case you were wondering what brought on these musings about the body, i’ve been sick for the last few days. elaine and i both got sick on the cruise we took to mexico. talk about a virus factory – cruise ships are the worst combination possible: lots of people and runny-nosed kids, close quarters, everyone living la vida loca and letting down their immune system guard. it’s an accident waiting to happen.
anyway, i got a sinus infection, and it was yesterday that my nose produced the foulest, most disgusting creature you have ever seen come out of a hole that small. seeing that green, yellow and red horror made me realize that the insides of our bodies are planets unknown to us, terra incognita that should be labeled profusely with signs that say ‘here be monsters.’ remember that old movie fantastic voyage? not a trip i want to take. no, i’m happy being on the outside, mostly blind to what’s going on behind the scenes until my body decides it’s time to share something from the land that is me.

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