snot-rocket-800 (1)
From the classic 1999 adidas ad campaign

Is the infamous runner’s method for eliminating excess snot acceptable behavior?

Now that eternal Spring has finally released its grip and yielded to steady sub-freezing temperatures I am faced with more decisions than just how many extra layers to pile on—namely, how to deal with that steady stream of snot forever depending from each nostril.

Is there a cruel irony for runners that the phrase we use to describe the extra mucus produced during cold-weather runs is a “runny nose”? I don’t know for a fact that my nose runs more than others, but still, I suspect that what I lack in speed and endurance I over- compensate in the area of snot production.

There are only so many ways to deal with this, and I contend that some are better than others. You can do what toddlers do and either ignore it, or worse, use your sleeve or mitten, which has obvious shortcomings. Contingent on whether you have pockets or not, carrying tissues in them is a good idea. This is my method, and although imperfect, I find it markedly better and slightly less revolting than the final method I’m going to describe. But, unless you find yourself running by a trash can directly after blowing your nose, you are going to be forced to put the tissues, snots and all, back into your pocket. Pretty gross, when you think about it.

But, my reason for raising this issue is to discuss the curious incident of the runner who eschews both tissue and sleeve in favor of the “one finger on nostril and then honk and let the snot fly where it may” method. I have heard several names to describe this technique. I was in second grade the first time I heard someone give it a name—“Hoboken Style” (no origin story was offered). My neighbor Mr. Malinowski, a first-generation Polish immigrant, did it often without irony or pretense and was so adept and precise about it, we named it after him for a while.

A Google search also turned up “farmer blow,” “mucus-missile,” and” lung-chuck’r.” But the clearly most popular name is “Snot Rocket.

Can I say that, out of desperation and lack of a tissue, that I may have tried this once or twice? Yes, of course. But, what separates me from the many practitioners of this borderline-disgusting trick is . . . I looked to see if anyone was behind me first!

I have more than once have had to run a clever diversion pattern to get out of the way of someone’s errant proboscis projectile and think a little common courtesy goes a long way here.

I accept that if you run outside you are going to encounter the snot rocketeer, but that doesn’t make me like it or think that it’s less repulsive than it is. If you don’t believe me, take it from Lena Dunham. I regret that I can’t find a clip of Jennifer Jason Leigh doing it while smiling maniacally into the camera in The Hateful Eight. But if you are going to do it, do it right.  Here’s that tutorial you’ve been waiting for.