Right on the Nose.


Of all the body-parts and organs we schlepp around with us on a daily basis, the one I have most of an issue with lately is the nose. Perhaps that's due to a cold that has me sniffing and sneezing no end. Maybe it's a tickle inside my nose that I frequently notice whenever I'm stuck in my car, parked in a downtown traffic-jam; the tickle that makes the tip of my thumb crawl up into my nostril to deal with the annoying itch, while watching like-minded fellow-motorists doing the same.


To be blunt about it: what bugs me is the ill-conceived design of the human nose, its messy output and its inconvenient location plumb in the middle of the face. Hello!


Don't get me wrong. The nose is certainly a must for anyone who breathes with it while busy with the mouth which, after all, is a major orifice used for multi-tasking. The nose also affords us a sense of smell that benchmarks anything from a seductive scent to what is also known as "stinkapoo" in baby-circles.


However, its vertical wedge-shape, with a somewhat tri-angular profile, starting right between the eyes and gradually sloping down to the mouth, make it an awkward facial object. The upper ridge of our nose may be ideal for eye-wear usage or a fleeting scratch, but that's about all. What about the yucky discharge we are often faced with? Surely there are better locations in or on our bodies that could deal with this more effectively. And when it comes to one of my favorite pastimes, kissing, the nose as we know it is simply in the way and nothing but a nuisance.


So what could be the solution? A creative tick in me decided that I should spend a day at the zoo to take a good look around, and so I did. Hours later it became clear to me that our heads could use more of a shoe-box shape. Something like the head of a rhinoceros without the horn, perhaps, or better yet, the head of the hippopotamus.


Say what you will, but the hippo's head smacks of utility. It comes with a huge, wide mouth and a set of large nostrils, both located at the front-end of the head, whereas the eyes and ears are found on the upper end. Makes sense, doesn't it? The nostrils breathe and sniff much better up front, they make for easy elimination of whatever wants out there, and the mouth underneath them deals with the groceries. At the upper end, the swivel-mount eyes and ears keep busy watching and listening. Just like that.


However, as for expressing facial affection such as a kiss or two, I didn't see any of the hippos smooching, even though there's no reason or obstruction to prevent that. My guess is that kissing in public during business-hours or while chewing on an arm-full of well-seasoned hay is against zoo-regulations or just not hippo. Who knows.