Tuesday, March 13, 2007

My Right Nostril

Yesterday, at approximately 3:11 PM, I sat in my ENT’s office and took in a full breath of air through my right nostril for the first time in 20 years. You see, I lived with a broken nose since that fateful night back in 1987 when my friend, Jonny and I got pummeled by a drunken gargantuan outside of a local tavern. Jonny and I were walking home from 2nd Street in Belmont Shore – Long Beach, for those unfamiliar with this territory – when we noticed a huge, inebriated man screaming at a girl outside of a bar. Jonny, fueled by several quarts of liquid courage, decided to walk over to the gargantuan and inquire as to what may be the problem. He got within striking distance and was backhanded – slapped to the ground in a heap. As I rushed toward him to give him a hand the gargantuan turned toward me, grabbed me square by my shoulders and head-butted me across the middle of my face with his forehead making intimate, catastrophic contact with the bridge of my nose. I was knocked to the ground. I scrambled to my feet in an attempt to bolt out of there, but as I rose I was greeted by his fist which planted itself, again, on my nose. I was nearly knocked unconscious, but managed to dig into the sidewalk and lunge away from the scene, building momentum into what must have been the fastest ½ mile sprint I’d ever run.

A few minutes later Jonny met up with me on the steps of my parents’ house. Primed by the sprint, blood gushed from my nose like an inverted oil well. Jonny was basically unscathed. With the exception of a small red patch on his forehead from where the gargantuan’s massive hand made contact, he was fine.

The next day when I woke up and looked in the mirror I didn’t recognize who I saw. My nose had been smashed into a ball and bent in half. I went to an ENT, who with the help of his nurse who braced my head from behind, managed to bend my nose back into place – more or less. They told me that I’d probably not be able to breath out of my right nostril until I had surgery to correct the septum. They were right.

So, for twenty years, I’ve been a left-nostril breather. Not many people know that about me. I sometimes wonder how my life would be different had I been able to breath out of my right nostril for all these years. I think about all the successful people who are lucky enough to use their nose to its full potential. Perhaps I could have been a great athlete – the extra oxygen provided by that pathway enabling extraordinary feats of strength, skill, and endurance. Or maybe that small amount of extra oxygen would have allowed my brain to develop more better. . .I mean betterer. . .I mean better! See – Who knows?!? But I’m not going to worry about that now. Fact is, I’m a full-nose breather once again, and I plan on being one for the rest of my days. And Jonny – just to let you know – the next time you want to defend someone outside of a bar, dude, you’re on your own!