Saturday, January 20, 2007
All The Nose That's Fit to Print
I love getting mail. And the other day I received package -- the best kind of mail! From Oregon! I opened it up and it was a nice presentation box containing a booklet entitled "The Red Nose Training Manual" and two red foam clown noses. Now I've rarely been accused of being too serious (usually it's the reverse), but this Red Nose humor called for a different slant on things than my usual sly, sarcastic, smart-aleck self is used to. While I have no trouble making the joke on me, the instructions in the "training manual" made it obvious to me that the joke was on the joke. The nose is about being in a spirit of fun. So I popped it on the end of my nose for the rest of that day and here's what I found.
1) It's hard to read a computer screen with a big red out of focus blob moving around the text;
2) It's hard to drink water wearing a big red nose;
3) It's hard to act like work decisions are life and death while discussing them with colleagues when you're wearing a big red nose;
4) People you think would stop in their tracks when they see you wearing a big red nose often don't miss a beat and a walk on by (often whilst muttering some comment like "I always knew you were a Bozo") while others just can't get by it;
5) Strangers on the street want to look at you, but won't (at least here in the Midwest -- that politeness thing, I guess) and so are really obvious about looking elsewhere;
6) Clothes don't make the man -- the nose makes the man. A fine, grey window-pane wool-cashmere suit and shirt and tie become invisible if you're wearing a clown nose;
7) Nothing you wear or do surprises your spouse;
8) Wearing a clown nose, after the initial self-consciousness wears off, is actually very freeing and relaxing.
I discovered that last item while wearing the nose through rush hour traffic on the way home. It's normally a very uptight time for me -- people getting in my way (how dare them!), going slow in the speed lane, cutting in front of me, tailgating me, me pushing the speedlimit. But, with the clown nose on, I found myself slowing down, allowing people to zoom by, cut in, change lanes without signalling, and various other crap without getting all bent by it. It's hard to get bent out of shape when your face is already out of shape! It's hard to glare at somebody while wearing a big red nose. In fact, the nose enlarged my soul for that period that I wore it. That sounds silly, I know, but I think that's the point. The silly shows us our true place in this life -- we are not the center of the universe, though, as the "Red Nose Training Manual" say, we can see it from where we are. The silly says, "Slow down, enjoy, be kind, be caring, be not-caring about yourself, and smile on the outside and the inside."
And that's all the nose from my hometown.