As winter drags interminably on ("Gonna get me a shotgun and kill all the groundhogs I see ..."), I've had far too many opportunities to dwell on the finer points of phlegm. I've spoken previously of Snot Rockets, including such variants as the "Aborted Takeoff" and the "Crash Landing," but here are a few new forms of the product that my proboscis doth oft project in these chilling times:
The Steve Austin: As in the "Six-Million-Dollar Man," and not the pro wrestler. This is a Crash Landing of such epic proportions that you manage to sever at least three limbs with it ... or at least ruin your favorite pair of tights. We can rebuild him ... make him stronger, faster, and warmer. Assos has tights that go for about six million bucks, too.
The Jason Voorhees: This isn't really a Snot Rocket, since you don't fire it off. Instead, this is when you ride in extreme cold wearing a balaclava or triple tube or whatever else over your nose and mouth, and phlegm and exhalation soak the front and then freeze, and then white frost forms on the outside. Eventually, you are wearing a hockey mask made of ice, which begins to scratch at your face and freeze to the torn flesh and irritate you to the point that you go off to Crystal Camp Lake and begin killing promiscuous teenagers.
The Freddie Krueger: (A warning to tender readers: This is nasty.) Eventually, after repeatedly riding in temperatures that are really too cold for humans to survive, your sinuses may become irritated to the point that they bleed. When you fire off a snot rocket from bleeding sinuses, you will convert that bright yellow jacket into a good likeness of LeRoy Neiman's painting of "Pikachu vs. Godzilla."
As with most movie monsters, you may not realize that the Freddie Krueger or Jason Voohees is there until it is too late. For example, I was biking in to work one cold morning last year and experienced voluminous sinus output early in my ride. I didn't know it, but one of the shots I fired as the sun began to rise was apparently a Freddie Krueger. Later, I stopped at Panera to top off my coffee, and I noticed people looking at me strangely ... well, even more strangely than they usually do. It was not until I got to the office and went into the bathroom to change into work clothes that I discovered that the right side of my chest was covered with blood. It was then that the looks that people had given me at Panera as they shied away made perfect sense.
The Rainblow: RandoGirl saw me create one of these just yesterday. It occurs when you clear your sinuses, but all that comes out is a fine mist. On a cold morning, if the light hits this just right, refraction will create a beautiful -- albeit short-lived -- rainbow.
If you manage to launch something green at the start, that ain't no leprechaun.