. Regurgitated Alpha Bits: Let's Boogie on Down

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Let's Boogie on Down

What is the deal with children and their propensity for public nose picking?

Is private nose picking not satisfying enough? How do you not notice that I am watching you?

...in horror.

Do you not feel the river of snot you've allowed to dry on your cheek when you dragged your finger from your nostril to your mouth? Doesn't that itch?

Because of this disgusting habit, the lengths to which I'll go to avoid exposure to their boogery remnants have become almost bubble-boy-esque.

For example, I never lick my fingers to turn the pages of a book or separate papers in a stack, and frankly, I am frequently mortified to see my colleagues do it.




After handling students' papers which virtually teem with germy booger flakes? After grabbing their pencils to help them with a math problem; pencils that have themselves been used in their nasalogical expeditions due to the unexpected ulility of that sharp lead point? After typing on the same keyboards as them; keyboards with a crusty texture only a nostril could love?




Have you not witnessed kids routinely picking their noses with abandon. Haven't you seen their uninhibited digging, followed by the inspection of their findings that practically screams out for a jeweler's loupe, and finally, (more often than not) the inexplicable consumption of their findings? I have even seen kids carry on conversations together, each with index fingers plunged knuckle-deep, simultaneously mining for that elusive green snack. How does that not cause their bile to rise? I want to ralph just typing about it.

And High Fives...

I won't. I refuse. I understand that it's common to give kids high fives for various achievements such as remembering to come to school in the morning, an unexpectedly accurate answer, or for simply NOT pinching their neighbors when you're not looking. I understand. Sometimes, the overwhelming excitement of some moments take over, like the exhuberance felt at dismissal time, and one simply can't resist the urge to share it with others through the spontaneous slapping of hands...

but not me.

When I think of high fiving a student, my imagination shows the scene in slow motion. The student's little, sticky, brown-under-the-nails hand innocently sails through the air. It floats past lazy clouds lounging in the blue sky towards my hand as the child grins and says, "Goooood Bbbbbyyyeeeee MMMMMMsssss. LLLLLeeeeee."

Upon contact, a smattering of green sticky slime transfers between our hands, creating a web of snotty goo that momentarily links our palms as they part. As the child skips away in slow motion, my imagination pans back to my face as I peer down in horror at the boogery concoction glued to my palm.

And then I watch myself barf into another student's backpack...in slow motion.

To avoid this scenario, my students and I touch elbows.

Every year, I explain to my kids how the high five will be replaced with touching elbows. I refer to it as, "Throwing an elbow." How often can you get away with throwing an elbow at an adult and be praised for it? Of course, students demand an explanation for this change. As I feel honesty is the best policy, I explain I won't touch their hands because they pick their noses. That, coupled with their inconsistant hand-washing habits, forces me to ask that they make contact with me using one of the few parts of their bodies that they cannot get into their noses.

I am the butt of many jokes at school. Laugh it up, fellow teachers. I see you giggling behind that wadded up tissue you been reusing all day because the school ran out during the Great Cold Epidemic of 2008. We'll see who has the last laugh.

I, thankfully, remain healthy (coughcough).

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