Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Genetic Nose Hair

When you're preparing to move, and you're deciding what to throw out and what to pack, you discover a lot. You discover books you forgot you even had, magazine issues that you didn't read, but want to keep so you can later on (such as The New Yorker's Science Fiction issue from a few months ago, and their Food issue from last year), and DVDs to put with other DVDs in a huge binder in order to watch later, but not necessarily to keep (such as Blackthorn, starring Sam Shepard, one of my heroes).

It's preparation for a new life, new experiences, new discoveries. Surprising new discoveries.

Late last week, I noticed a nose hair hanging further down than usual from my nose. I could tuck it back in a bit so it wouldn't be so bothersome, but at the first opportunity, it always sprang back out. I had to do something about it. I had to cut it.

I went into my parents' bathroom during the night, into Monday, and got the scissors that are kept for such a task. I expected to only eventually aim the scissors correctly enough while looking in the mirror in order to clip the sucker. I had to sit down after I clipped the lone nose hair and looked up my nose. I was stunned by what I found.

I know that I'm going to get older. Everyone does. I know that my body will gradually change with every year. It happens to everyone. I didn't expect to find so soon the sheer breadth of nose hair I have in each nostril.

When my late paternal grandfather, and my paternal grandmother, used to visit, I'd always sit in the middle of the front of their car, with Dad next to me on the right, my grandfather driving on the left, and Mom, Meridith, and my grandmother in the back. While my grandfather weaved through traffic like a madman, defied the logic of wearing a seatbelt (he absolutely refused to wear one and we never said anything about it, because that's who he was), and told jokes, most of which were racist, I looked at him and noticed his nose hairs, how they seemed to be reaching out beyond his nose. Not that they were disorganized, since he seemed to clip them when necessary, but it looked like they were planning to invade at the first possible moment that no one, or me, was looking. I was younger, so I didn't think much about it beyond being amazed at how one nose could have so much nose hair.

Now here I am, 28 years old, and I have what my grandfather had, what my father has too. It's the least to worry about in a family line that's pretty much uneventful. All my ancestors died of old age, ranging from the 80s to the 90s. I'd like to go beyond that.

So I have to clip my nose hairs more often. That's fine. I'll do it. For now, though, I'm still surprised at seeing this change right now. Whatever happens in my body in the years to come, I'm not so concerned because I know my genetic line has always been stable. No family members with cancer in the past. Nothing that threatens one's health early on. Only an impending invasion of nose hairs on the world. But the battle is always easily won.

1 comment:

  1. I have lots of ear wax. I don't think it's genetic. But every time I go to the doctor, she says, You have a lot of wax in your ears. I think, Well, excuse me all to hell. I also have a single black hair that grows above my upper lip. As soon as it becomes visible, I pluck it with tweezers. I guess that's not genetic either. I have no one to blame for my ear wax and single black hair except myself.