The Art of the Snot Rocket

I have no idea when I perfected it. The snot rocket is an art boys learn early on. We had our share of cold winters in Kentucky where I grew up. Winter, where the snot rocket is born…

You might say there is no skill involved in expelling phlegm from your nose. That’s where you are wrong. Anyone’s nose can run. The question is: can hold your nose just right, tilt your head and force it out properly so that it doesn’t land on your face or clothing? Because that would be embarrassing. Further, can you aim it while on the run so it doesn’t freeze and become a dangerous icy patch to those who come after you?

I can.


I don’t mean to brag, but I’m pretty good – darn good. I feel like if we could get this added as an Olympic sport, I could medal. Where is the SRAA (Snot Rocket Athletic Association) to champion this cause? Imagine that, a Southern boy winning gold in the Winter Olympics.

I got to test my skill Sunday. It dipped to freezing in Georgia for the first time this winter. I love cold runs. In fact, I planned on doing 8 miles and stretched it into 10. There weren’t many people on the greenway with me while I plied my phlegmy craft. Unbeknownst to me, there was a new factor at play.

Kylie has decided that she no longer likes the shape of my head and wants me to cover it with hair again. In fact, she decided she would like me to cover my face, as well. I don’t know what that says, but I am happy to comply. Just like I had always wanted to shave my head, I have always wanted to try to grow a beard. My lovely wife objected to both, but we do pretty much whatever Kylie wants while she is in treatment. So I have a week’s worth of stubble on my head and face.

I think it is going to come in. It looks slightly patchy on the cheeks, but a goatee will not be a problem. All the online beard-growing advice I’ve found says you have to give it a month before you decide. I can hold out. I’m actually kind of excited about it. Right now, with stubble all over, I feel dangerous – like a European bad guy in a James Bond film.

This new growth plays havoc with the snot rocket, however. I didn’t know it when I started running. I launched away for the 5 miles out. When I turned around, more people had joined the run and I noticed quite a few stares. I chalked it up to my new shady appearance. They must be afraid – wondering if I was planning dastardly deeds that only MI6 can thwart. Dangerous.

Little did I know until I got to the truck that I was stockpiling snot rockets on my new facial hair. Like twin demented antlers, they had collected and grown in a downward spiral shape from my upper lip. Yuck…

I have a challenge before me this winter of adapting the game to my new look. Don’t worry, part of being a professional is overcoming obstacles that stand in the way. And if the SRAA comes calling, I will shave and probably wax my upper lip to be competitive. Nothing can get in the way of an Olympic dream.

The Death of a Cow

From the archives of the Portsong Guardian, dated May 1924:


A great loss occurred in Portsong today. Mae Wilkin’s cow, Flossie, took ill several weeks ago and poor Mae found her hooves up in her pen this morning. Since Flossie routinely slept in that position, Doc Harkins is not quite sure of the time of death as Mae can’t seem to recall the last time she saw her upright. The old doc is quite sure she has passed, though.

The death of Flossie not only leaves an empty stall in Mae’s stable, it leaves a great loss to the farming community at large. In 1908, Mae’s late husband, Homer discovered Flossie had quite a knack for weather prognostication. While his peers mostly considered him a lunatic, Homer persevered in honing the skills of his heifer until he finally won over believers after she correctly predicted the great hailstorm of March 1910.


His description of her amazing talent was detailed in the transcript of a radio interview by noted Savannah broadcaster Edwin F. Teague:

EFT: How did you come upon the discover of her ability?

HW: I began to noticin’ she always worked her cud on the left. I thought that to be a might peculiar, so I asked her about it one day.

EFT: You talk to her?

HW: Why sure I do. I talk to all of ’em. It sooths ‘em to hear my voice. No good milkin’ ’em without talkin’ sweet to ’em first. They’d squirt out beans or nothing at all if they weren’t peaceful! Anyhow, she didn’t have no answer. But the nexday, just by chance, I noticed she were workin’ it on the right. On about noontime, the sky opened up and cut loose a fierce storm.

EFT: So you noticed a pattern after that day?

HW: Yesir. It happened thataway every time. In fact, when it got to be planting season, I went out to see which side she was chewin’ on before I did anythin’.

EFT: Did you have trouble convincing other farmers about this skill?

HW: At first. If I were at the feed store out yonder in Linkston, I’d tell ’em what the day held and they’d laugh at old Homer. But after I was right so many a time, they had to listen to me. When I told ‘em it were Flossie, they laughed at me until the big storm in 19 and 10 turned out to be the Mighty Hailer! They quit their laughing after that.

EFT: Yes, how did you get from rain prediction to a storm of such magnitude?

HW: Well, it goed like this. When I went out to the field that day to check the weather, she had her mouth filled triple full and slop were coming out both sides. So I know’d it were something unusual coming. I asked her if it were so and she just lowered her big, soft brown eyes to the ground and I knew. I went running around town tell folks to tie down the winders, ‘cause I knew a big ‘un was on its way.

EFT: She prevented a great deal of loss that day. Thank you for your fascinating story, Mr. Wilkins.


Ironically, directly across from the story on page 13 was the following advertisement:

Wanted: The Portsong Guardian is seeking a weatherman for immediate duty. Part time – morning hours. Pay commensurate with experience. Bovine preferred.


Photo credit: William Warby (Flickr: Cow)