(originally posted 5/23/2015)
I never read newspapers. If I want to hear what’s going on in the world, which I never do, I’ll watch TV or turn on my computer. That being said, I was reading a newspaper when the trouble began.
I say “trouble” in order to make this seem a bit more exciting than it really is. Or was. Whatever it was, or is, it’s over now.
I was at a Jiffy Lube getting my oil changed and there was nothing else to read in the little lobby they directed me to, not even an old National Geographic, so I was forced to flip through the newspaper otherwise I ran the danger of having to make eye contact with the other poor bastards sitting on the dirty folding chairs waiting for our cars to get done.
I could make it seem a crazy coincidence that I ended up reading the obituaries but the truth is I perused every inch of the paper so it was inevitable I’d end up there. This is where things got sort of weird.
One of the stiffs was a guy I thought I knew. Or at least remembered from somewhere. I’d like to claim that I have a great memory but I don’t. The only reason I thought I remembered the guy was that his nose was enormous. The kind of a nose you can’t forget. Not only large but it had a ding in the top of it. Not so much a piece missing, just that it appeared to the casual observer that he must have been dropped as a baby.
Onto an axe. From a great height.
A dent. Sort of.
Not the kind of a nose you’re likely to forget, I’ll leave it at that otherwise I will spend the entire story trying to describe this whale of a snout.
But where did I know him from?
It wasn’t until I was home and in front of a large picture of myself standing in front of the Eiffel Tower that I realized where I’d seen him. He was the guy in my framed Eiffel Tower picture whose nose was blocking most of it.
Then it hit me…
I don’t usually take pictures of myself but when I do I rarely put them in a photo album but in this case I was forced to go grab an old photo album I had tucked away on a shelf under my vinyl record collection. Having thrown out my old record player years ago and with no way to play the albums this was a section of my entertainment center that did not get a lot of play. When I pulled out the photo album my nose itched from all the dust that was kicked up.
I began to rifle through the album and it wasn’t long until I found what I was looking for. A picture I had taken in London over twenty years ago. A picture of Big Ben. Well, a picture of some of Big Ben. The rest was lost behind the gigantic beak of a stranger.
The same stranger who had blocked out a sizable amount of the Eiffel Tower and the same stranger from the obituary picture.
What the hell was Sir Nosealot doing in these pictures? Decades apart in different countries?
My hands trembling slightly I did what any veteran of scary movies would do: I began to look through all of my pictures.
Now you, no doubt a veteran of watching those same scary movies, are probably anticipating that I found this guy lurking in the background of dozens of shots. And you’d be right.
Although lurking might not be the right word. He was blocking out some of the largest natural and man-made structures in the world. The Pyramids, the Grand Canyon, the Great Wall of China. He was there with his giant nose ruining them all. And there I was smiling away, completely oblivious to his presence. In the picture of the space shuttle launch he ruined he’s holding a vuvuzela of all things.
Who was he?
It’s at this point that I was forced to admit to myself I’d been waiting all my life for this type of thing to happen to me. Something to make my life seem somehow special. Maybe even important. The laws of probability seemed to indicate that I was part of something bigger than myself.
What was the cosmic significance of this guy with the colossal nose?
That Saturday morning I got dressed up in somber attire and drove down to the funeral home to pay my respects and to see if I could find out some answers. When I got there and found that they were unable to close his casket because of the size of his schnoz I laughed so hard that it didn’t seem to matter anymore. It ruined everything. The metaphorical nose photobombing my big mystery.
I had to admit, thinking back on it, that bringing a vuvuzela to a shuttle launch was pretty cool idea.