PET PEEVES - Woolly Boogers

(11/21/2006)

Ongoing Articles of Annoyance

By Harry Beall

I know what you are going to say. “What in the world is a woolly booger and what could anyone possibly have to say about one?” No, it’s not some creature from a horror movie or the remnant of a restless night’s sleep. However, they can be just as aggravating!

Some people call them fuzz balls or hairballs. There are probably a hundred derogatory names for them. I prefer woolly boogers because it seems to give them a life of their own, which is exactly what they appear to have anyway.

I suppose a description of these annoying critters would be helpful. As near as I can surmise, they are an elusive combination of hair, fuzz, dirt and an invisible adhesive that holds them together in loosely adherent floating translucent balls.

It’s the elusive nature of these inexplicable wonders of nature that is so amazing. You can clean, dust, sweep, mop and vacuum for hours and just when you think everything is spotless, the slightest breeze will bring a big woolly booger dancing into center stage. It will perform its intricate ballet for a few minutes and then without waiting for applause, disappear without a trace.

Where they come from and where they go is one of the great mysteries of the universe. The mystery glue that holds them together is just as unexplainable. You can chase one across the room and just when you think you have it, it will separate into halves, each half going its separate way. This evasive maneuver has been the bane of many a housekeeper.

I was in the Air Force the first time I heard them called woolly boogers. It is ironic how a little ball of dirt and hair can strike such fear in the hearts of basic trainees. The Training Instructor (T. I.) would come in on a Saturday morning and say, “I want this place spotless by noon chow. We would clean and clean. Then we would begin the woolly booger inspection.

We would assign crews to monitor the corners and crews to check under the beds. We would even set guards at the doors to make sure that these crafty rascals did not initiate a silent invasion from the outside. We were at war!

On one such day, we had spent the morning cleaning and were waiting by our bunks at attention for inspection. The T. I. came in and the ritual began. He came to my bunk and was inspecting my perfect corners. Guess what happened! When I glanced down I saw it……and so did the T. I. A woolly booger the size of a baseball sailed out from under my bunk, did a perfect pirouette, and disappeared into some unseen part of the barracks. I looked up and Sgt. Carter (I can’t remember his real name, but he looked just like Sgt. Carter in the Gomer Pyle series) was grinning like a possum. “The woolly booger attack caught you off guard, didn’t it Airman Beall. You lose!!”) I spent the rest of Saturday and all day Sunday on woolly booger patrol while everyone else was on base leave.

So, when you do your Saturday cleaning and preparing for your “get together” later that evening, just remember, the silent invaders are lurking in a corner or under the couch or behind the stove, waiting to make an appearance on center stage. They will leap from the hidden crevices when you least expect it and disappear before you can blink. So keep your dust mop handy and don’t be caught of guard. They are coming for you!


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