Saturday, February 06, 2021

Boogey Man

When I was in grade four we moved from Vancouver (a moderate oceanic climate) to Calgary (a continental subarctic climate).* It was certainly different from what I had grown to think of as "normal." So cold. So snowy. I wasn't sure winter was ever going to end.

This was my first time really being The New Girl, though it certainly wouldn't be the last. We'd moved before, but that had been before I started school. I went from kindergarten through half of grade four in the same school (it was a wonderful school). Our neighbourhood school in Calgary was "too full" to take us (that's what I remember, anyway). Patrick got to finish up his kindergarten year there (at Deer Run Elementary), but David and I had to be bussed out to Alice M. Curtis. We weren't the only children in the neighbourhood who bussed out. My best friend Nadia, who was only my best friend outside of school because we weren't in the same class and...that mattered for some reason...bussed out as well. 

For some reason I sat by a girl named Krista on the bus. She was is my class (was probably my best friend in school), was very nice, and taught me a lot about winter. One thing she taught me how to do was to make pictures in the frost on the school bus windows. (It is not unusual to see busses driving around with the word HELP written on the frost on the windows, but don't worry; the children are usually fine). We would scrape little drawings and things into the frost with our fingernails (rather than melting the frost with our fingerprints to spell a big, bold HELP signal like the older kids). This was all fine until one day I scraped a little too hard a little too fast and somehow worked a frosty little icicle sliver up under my nail bed. It was shockingly painful, but as quickly as the alarm bells went off in my brain, the frost melted (essentially pulling the sliver out). I applied direct pressure the rest of the way to school and then asked for a bandaid. It was surprisingly painful for quite a long time, which you'd know if you've ever gotten a sliver under your fingernail before. 

All this is to say that I sympathize with Andrew—really, I do—despite all my teasing. 

The other day he got his own unconventional sliver under his fingernail (which hurt like the dickens) when he noticed that someone (which is to say no one because no one knows who could have done it) had wiped a big ol' booger on the wall. 

I will take a quick minute to note here that I grew up calling such "nose stuff" boogers (BOO-gurs) (but also "nose stuff") while Andrew calls them buggers (BUG-gurs),** something my Canadian grandma would be horrified to hear (but which, alas, is a very common thing to say in the United States). I've worked on him, but it's such an ingrained pronunciation that he still uses it. I did, however, win the...uh...fart...battle. I grew up not saying that word and whether Andrew did or whether he didn't, we ameliorate it at our house, usually with "toot" or "gas." Alexander prefers the word "air," though he's the only one who uses that particular word for that particular bodily function.

I will also note that by the time Andrew found the booger on the wall, it was rather...crisp. 

Fossilized, really. 

So it's possible that none of our children were guilty of wiping it on the wall above the couch, directly beside the light switch (even though there's a tissue box on the end table). It's possible it's been there since prehistoric times (so you're all off the hook, children). 

Whatever the case, Andrew decided, the other day, to scrape that disgusting ol' booger off the wall with his fingernail. That booger was so firmly affixed to the wall that Andrew found he needed to use quite a bit of force to remove it. That booger was so well-dried it could have been used as battle armour. And when Andrew finally dislodged it from the wall it lodged itself right up under his fingernail, which is possibly the worst, most embarrassing way to get a fingernail sliver that I've ever heard of! 

Andrew was in excruciating pain. He complained about his finger for days

And we lovingly checked in on him, as families do, but also mercilessly teased him about families do. We're still teasing him. Every time he goes to scratch or blow his nose at least one person warns him to be careful up there...might be dangerous...

Poor man.

* As defined by the Köppen climate classification system.
** Andrew would like to clarify that he pronounces it like book. Buuh-ger. "As one does the buuh-gie, a little dance." To which I said, "Yeah, I say BOOgie. BOOgie WOOgie." So we disagree. And I still think it sounds more like buh-ger than he thinks. And, honestly, 


  1. 5555555555555555555!! Belly laughs, really!

  2. Ha...I'm with Andrew on the pronunciation thing. Even before I read that little footnote, I was saying "buuh-ger" to see if it were the same way I said "bugger." :) Poor guy..that does sound painful and gross.

  3. I think he is right--Andrew and most Utahns do in fact say it like in book. This is interesting to me mostly because my friend Dena Mook, from the UK, said her last name, and words like cook and book and look all with the "oo" sound in "loose." And at the time I knew her (BC) all of us around her said HER last name the same way she said it while still pronouncing all those other words with the "oo" sound in "foot."