To most people, this contraption is simply a tea ball--a seemingly innocuous kitchen gadget. But throughout my childhood I knew it as "The Pick Guard." A device that struck fear through the heart of...well, just me.
It all begins with my sister, Bridget, who had a bit of a nose picking problem as a child. Conventional threats had gotten no where with her.
My Mom had an inkling of hope one afternoon in the car when Bridget called out from the back seat, "I don't pick my nose and eat it anymore, Mom."
"That's great, Bridget!"
"Yeah, I just wipe it on my lips now."
And with that statement, my Mom's hope was deflated and she knew she had to come up with something to discourage Bridget's nose picking, something more drastic. Thus, "The Pick Guard" was born.
One morning, as we sat eating our cereal at the table, my mom pulled out the tea ball and dangled in front of us.
"Do you see this, Bridget? This is a pick guard and Dr. Macias will have to put this over your nose if you don't stop picking it."
I cannot report my sister's reaction to this news because I was too busy envisioning terrible scenarios involving the pick guard in my own mind. Even though I was three years older and not prone to nose picking, the pick guard terrified me, and I never forgot it.
Years later, when I was about thirteen, I saw my mom get the pick guard out of the cupboard. I immediately recoiled in fear, "Oh no! The pick guard!"
"What?! Oh, that? You thought that was real all this time?" my Mom replied.
"Yeah, you believed that!" Bridget added, "I didn't even believe that!"
Of course, I believed it...my Mom had said it was true.