“Honesty: The best of all the lost arts.” Mark Twain
The lady for whom I’d been waiting suddenly arrived, “David hi, Martha Blackwell nice to meet you.”
I turned around to shake her hand but couldn’t help but notice a stringy piece of snot hanging from her nose. It dropped down from the bridge and wrapped itself around the lower part of her left nostril.
Being that I’d never met this lady combined with the fact that she was rather fancy in her ways and style, I felt terribly uncomfortable saying anything.
“So tell me about your book,” Martha (a friend of a friend who works at a PR firm) said taking her seat across from me at the table.
“Well it sheds light on all the things one might not know about in the life of a yoga teacher. There are chapters about sexual escapades, dirty adjustments, snot in the nose,” I hinted.
“Snot in the nose? What does that mean?” Martha asked, clearly failing to pick up the hint.
We chatted for another few minutes when the snot dropped off her nostril and became a one inch long booger hanging from the bridge of her nose.
I didn’t know what to say. If I told her, she might be pissed at the “snot in the nose” comment I made a few moments earlier. But if I didn’t tell her, she might think I was trying to make a fool out of her. What is the ethical thing to do?
I considered the following:
1. Sense of Humor
“Martha, I hear they have a great booger at this place.”
2. Jedi Mind Trick
“Martha do I have anything long and gross hanging out of my nose?”
3. Industry Inquiry
“Martha, do you happen to know who’s doing PR for the book Snotty Snotty Snot Nose: What’s the Point of a Having a Gucci Purse and Christian Louboutin heels when a 1 inch booger is dripping from your beak?
The other night I watched Ted Haggard on the Oprah Winfrey Show. He’s the disgraced evangelist who once led the 30 million strong National Association of Evangelicals. In 2006, Haggard was exiled when it was discovered that his side hobby was not Bible study or retreats to the Holy Land…but rather snorting meth from his dealer who happened to be his male hooker. What so many have found troubling is not so much Haggard’s escapades but rather his inability to be truthful with himself and his community.
We all know that person who is dishonest with himself, whether it be a matter of subverted sexuality, failure to express creativity, or some massive disconnect with self and spirit. Such a person might as well have a giant booger hanging from his nose. Everytime you see such a person, you want to shake him from his stupor, help him clean up his act, and live a more truthful existence. In fact, there are times when everyone of us could stand to wipe away our “spiritual snot” and live a more realized life.
It’s not easy to switch careers, partners, or in Haggard’s case, sexual preferences. And who wants to be in the business of causing others’ pain? I could have let Martha finish lunch without saying a single thing. And she might have gone on with the remainder of the day, booger in tow. But when the day is done and she washes up for bed, what would be worse…
For me to have mentioned ‘booger on your face?’
Or for her to live a whole day in disgrace?
There’s a lesson, a fable, for one and for all
Stand strong, stand true, and your snot will fall
Should you fear to be…the person you are
You might even thrive, and drive a nice car
But when you die, and shed your Clothes
You will have wished… you wiped your nose.