Tuesday, March 14, 2006


TB or not TB, that is the congestion...
Consumption be done about it?
Of cough, of cough...

- Woody Allen, Everything You Wanted To Know About Sex (but were afraid to ask)

Dear Mr. Debonair,

Is it more disgusting to “hock a loogie” in public, or to blow one’s nose at the dinner table?

Just Curious

Dear Just Curious,

What, are we playing a game now? “Quien Es Mas Macho”? “What Is More Revolting”? “Ask Me Another”?

Very well, I shall play along.

I am pleased that you seem to have accepted the implicit assumption that both of these activities are, in fact, disgusting, and that it is only a matter of degree as to which one is more so. There is, therefore, hope for you.

The answer, of course, is that both activities are equally worthy of condemnation. Asking which is worse is a little like asking, “What smells worse, a human turd or a dog turd?” They both stink! Duh!

Expectorating in public is truly revolting. I have this on no less an authority than the redoubtable Velociman, and you can take it to the bank that if V-Man thinks a certain activity is loathsome, you can be sure that it truly, as the Young Folk today say, “blows goats.”

The correct way to expectorate, if one absolutely must, is in the privacy of one’s lavatory. Sink or toilet bowl, no matter, as long as the Offending Wad is rinsed down the drain so that the next one to use the facilities does not have to look at Old Mr. Phlegmbooger staring up at him or her.

Alternatively, one may choose to use one’s handkerchief or a facial tissue, items without which – like a Cocktail Napkin - a Gentleman, at least, should never venture in public. One may excuse oneself from the table, whereupon the Vile Sputumaceous Substance may be discreetly ejected into the handkerchief, to be disposed of at a later, more convenient moment.

As to the horrendous practice of blowing one’s nose at the dinner table, it is to be discouraged in the strongest possible terms. Up to, and including, taking the extreme step of punching the offender right in the fucking head.

When one feels the urge to blow one’s nose at the dinner table, the proper thing to do is to excuse oneself and go to the nearest available Rest-Room. There, one may avail him- or herself of the available Facial Tissues, whether in sheet or roll form. Assuming, of course, that one has been a slacker in the Gentlemanly Comportment department and has forgotten to carry a handkerchief.

As evil as it is to blow one’s nose at table, there is one Variation on the Theme, as it were, that catapults this Unseemly Activity into the realm of the Truly Unconscionable. And that is to blow one’s nose into a restaurant’s Cloth Dinner Napkin.

Think on it. Bad enough that the poor waiter or busboy must deal with one’s greasy plates...but to unfurl a cloth dinner napkin only to find a Wretchedly Gooey Surprise inside? There is no tip big enough to compensate.

An individual who would do such a thing? Why, I suspect that such a person would not even exert himself to get out of the bathtub to take a dump...

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