Nose whistling is the heart and soul of any great relationship

image It’s one of life’s little mysteries, the fact that I can fall asleep in front of the television during a documentary chronicling man’s loudest explosions, yet be kept awake by the sound of my own nose whistling. In my defense, this was a new phenomenon, and something that, under any other circumstances, would have been amusing. However, at 1:30 in the morning, having your nose emit a solid C-major every time you exhale is just plain annoying.

What made matters worse was that I wasn’t alone in my musical endeavors. My wife was also blowing her horn — I’m guessing in E-flat — which, between the two of us, sounded like a pair of jug blowers trying to tune up for the spring dance. Instinctively, I grabbed the earplugs from the nightstand and inserted them. As I quickly discovered, this is a little like covering your ears so you can’t hear yourself sing. I then contemplated the idea of inserting the plugs directly into my nostrils, but decided against it for two reasons.

First, I would be forced to breath through my mouth, which would lead to snoring and bruised ribs.

Secondly, should my mouth somehow fall shut during the night, the resulting pressure would create a pair of high-velocity projectiles ricocheting through our bedroom without warning — the mere thought of which would keep me awake.

As I laid there in the dark trying to come up with a solution, I discovered that if I flared my nostrils, I could change the pitch of my nose instrument. While this wasn’t useful in solving the problem, it did allow me to perform a rather sassy rendition of “Heart and Soul” with my still-sleeping wife as a way to pass the time.

It was this discovery that got me thinking about the science behind the music, and how it was the combination of air, nasal passages and the particular formation of cilia lining those passages that created the sound. Following that line of thought, it stood to reason that altering one of those components would stop the sound. I immediately deemed “breathing” and “nasal passages” as components that were too risky to consider altering, leaving me with component number three: cilia.

While I won’t get into the specifics of how I altered my cilia, I will tell you that it was quick, easy and only required one finger. After a rather lengthy trip through the musical scale — and an abbreviated rendition of Don McLean’s “American Pie” — the music coming from my nose did indeed die.

This left my wife as a soloist.

Now, I’d like to say that I was able to make the necessary adjustments to her cilia without incident, and then fell quietly to sleep.

I’d like to say that, but I can’t.

The truth is, I’m still trying to explain to her exactly what I was doing when she woke up. And why “Heart and Soul” has been stuck in her head all day.


(Ned Hickson is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation and a member of the writing team at Long Awkward Pause. This has been an excerpt from his first book, Humor at the Speed of Life, is available from Port Hole Publications, or Barnes & Noble.)


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Ned's Blog

I was a journalist, humor columnist, writer and editor at Siuslaw News for 23 years. The next chapter in my own writer’s journey is helping other writers prepare their manuscript for the road ahead. I'm married to the perfect woman, have four great kids, and a tenuous grip on my sanity...

40 thoughts on “Nose whistling is the heart and soul of any great relationship”

  1. Whistling nose is the worst! Another goody is when you have a cold and when you try to breath through your nose, your sinuses make crackling noises. It reminds me of Rice Crispies. Has that happened to you? If you are truly starting this new business of cilia adjustment, you might want to buy protective gloves in bulk!

  2. Must be my mood this morning, but it’s the sweetness of your piece that captures me even more than the humor.
    Marriage is truly a song and dance of sorts – what a blessing to find a babe whose step and tune match yours.
    As for “Heart and Soul”…it’s one of my old, soothing favorites.
    Loved this, Ned.

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