It was 1982.
In other words, twenty years ago.
And I had a relationship with a white marble, which caused my deviated septum.
Growing up, I had a lot of toys. Well, not an Easy-Bake-Oven or Snoopy Sno Cone Machine. However, I had the Easy Bake mixes. I used a grown up oven for my little cakes, while my friends cooked theirs with a 100-watt bulb.
My favourite was my Little People. I’d spend hours with them and the Tomy Merry-Go-Copter. The concept: Little People travelled via elevator, boarding a helicopter. The Copter dropped them onto a train. Similar to Queen Elizabeth and 007’s entrance during the 2012 London Summer Games.
I was obsessed by the skunk game. I’d watch the marbles roll when they were knocked. They’d disappear and reappear. Where did they go? It was a mesmerizing game of peek-a-boo.
Here’s where this post gets a little PG-13. One night, I slept with a marble. Actually, for three nights.
Somehow a marble was misplaced, resulting in an uneven number of balls. A marble didn’t have a partner. Literally an odd ball. So, I took the marble to bed with me. I was young, and I felt sorry for the marble.
The next morning, I placed the marble back in the box. But, the lost ball hadn’t returned. Again, that same marble joined me in bed. This time, things got funky.
I was curious, and it just sort of happened. I brought the marble to my nose – and I sniffed. It smelled plastic-y. Not as I expected: cream soda or vanilla. Probably for the best, because I most likely would’ve eaten the marble.
I started to make the marble dance. Again, I was young with an imagination. Then, the marble sort of pranced into my right nasal passage. When I tugged the marble out, the most wonderful thing happened.
My nostril seemed clearer. Like I applied a Breathe-Right Nasal Strip – before they were invented. Remember, I’m the girl who used to have epic nosebleeds. I was convinced – much like Homer Simpson and the cloning hammock – this was a magic marble.
Night three, I popped the marble into the same nasal passage. With the marble removed, it was delightful. Ah, air! Then I shoved the marble deeper. I wanted more airflow. And … and … oh, God.
The marble was logged in my nose. I keep poking, which stuffed the marble further. I leapt from the bed. My Baba and Gigi Karatchuk were over, and they were about to leave. Imagine their surprise when their grandchild ran into the foyer with a quarter of a white marble showing from her nose – screaming, “I can’t bred! I can’t bred!”
My tears sprung, which made it worse. Snot clogged my right nostril. On top of the marble. No, it didn’t add lubrication. The snot travelled down my throat. I started to choke. On snot. I was going to die and never own a Cabbage Patch Kid! For real, because they hadn’t hit the market yet.
My Baba, calm and steady, said “Tammy, press the other side of your nose and blow. Really hard.” I did. The marble and a line of snot flew across the foyer. Hitting the washing machine and rolling onto the floor. My Baba hugged me – and I don’t remember what happened next because of the trauma.
However, the marble stretched my right nasal passage. Not only was my nose too large for my face as a kid, I had two different sized nostrils. In 2004, a doctor was examining my rosacea, part of my overall sexiness, and he said, “Do you know you have a deviated septum?”
“Your nose isn’t centred. Did you ever break your nose?”
I told him the marble story. He nodded, not knowing how to react except to say deviated septums are covered by insurance. But I don’t want a new nose.
Plastic surgery is a personal choice, and no one should be judged for choosing yes or no. Even though I’m self-conscious about my deviated septum – and my nose – I don’t want to change my appearance.
I’ve had four different surgeries, and I’m not afraid of anaesthesia.
When I was younger, I loathed my nose. Some days, I’m still self-conscious. It’s basically a weather vain, turning red on cold days, puffing like a Puffin during allergy season. Pictures must be taken from certain angles. My nose swells when I workout. Jogging is a snotfest. Sounds super sexy.
However, over time I’m learning my nose suits my face. It’s not horrid. Who cares about the comments about my nose in grade eight. And ten. And when I was 34. Yes, my deviated septum’s noticeable. But it’s part of my story.
I’m just grateful it was a white marble. And not a Little People.