The Tissue Legacy

It happened. I knew it would, but I just wasn’t sure when. Truth be told, I thought it wouldn’t occur until I was at least 80 spry years of age, when I wouldn’t give a flying fig what anyone thinks.

What am I talking about? Tissue. More specifically? Tissue Tucking.

 / tiSHoō . /tƏk -EENG /Noun.

Definition: The practice by which a tissue is tucked into an article of clothing for future use and/or safekeeping by someone who is over the age of 80.

Note: May be used as a verb when necessary.

Sample Sentence:

1.    (noun) My nose would not stop running and so, barring stuffing the tissue up my nose, I decided to use my cardigan sleeve for tissue tucking.

I know. This tissue tucking practice is likely something you’d rather not hear about, let alone read about. And yet here we are.

Let me explain to elicit sympathy, if not empathy. This is somewhat of a cautionary tale for you whippersnappers out there, so turn down your social media for optimal listening.

I come from a long line of female sniffers. No, we don’t have a problem with glue or illicit drugs, nor are we chic “perfumers” who can sniff out an olfactory composition. In point of fact, we sniffle, drawing air in and out of our nostrils in a rapid-fire cadence designed to drive ourselves insane, let alone anyone with the misfortune of being in close proximity.

“Why?” you ask. I was getting there. It’s because we’re prone to allergies all ding-dong year. Thus, we sniff out of necessity to combat the effects of the very sexily named post-nasal drip.

When I was younger I didn’t have this malady. Thus, I was very judgy, emitting a snort of disgust as I noted all of the females on the maternal side of my family were elbow patch deep in used tissues.

When my grandmother got up from her chair it appeared to be snowing paper, there were so many tissues stuffed into the cushion. Ugh. I thought it was gross. Why not just get up and grab a tissue when you need one, throw it away, and then return to what you were doing?

Well, I’ll tell you why, my nasally efficient friend. Because there’s not enough time. Kind of like life. When this rhinitis kicks in – fancy talk for a drippy nose – it’s always when I’m least prepared and left hankering for a handkerchief.

If you ever wonder why older women won’t put down their purses, it’s because they need to get to tissues, lipstick, and that ringing phone they never seem able to emancipate from the inner depths, ineffectually yelling, “Hello, Hello, Hello!” into their handbags. These three items should be strung onto the Lifeline medical alert cord.

I’ve accepted my graceless ageing, and I’m doing what I can to combat the ravages of time. What I didn’t factor in is that my sinuses would also age. While my nostrils appear to be pert and uplifted, unlike so many of my original-issue body parts, they are clearly not working at the capacity of my youth.

When I’m in the throes of an allergic reaction I look like a hypercharged rabbit, there’s so much nostril movement to combat the looming attack, which is a series of 12 sneezes, and 24 sniff-sniff-sniffs that turn the entire reaction into an aerobic interlude.

Sometimes these episodes make me feel light-headed because I’ve ingested so much oxygen in one fell swoop. It passes. Eventually. I can live with this when I’m on terra firma.

But I’m in my car. A lot. Mostly because I commute to the place where they’ve agreed to put me on the payroll. Why is this important to my tale of blow? (No, this isn’t about cocaine. Focus.) It’s important because when I’m in my car gaining access to a tissue is an issue.

Therefore, I’ve wiped my nose on oil rags, work-out clothes, coats, and the occasional scarf. Six weeks ago is when IT happened. The tissue tucking.

I was experiencing a particularly vicious nasal onslaught when I heard the “Wrrrp!” sound of the last tissue being ejected. I knew I had to make it last, so I shoved it up the sleeve of my snazzy designer sweater for safekeeping.

For the rest of my ride I had the tissue at the ready. I didn’t have to grab the wheel and tissue box simultaneously, risking life and limb to deal with my nose. There that piece of puffery was – a small, secure bump right where I needed it. Cushy. Absorbent. Tucked out of sight, though accessible.   

I didn’t expect to like the tucking. I sloughed it off as an aberration, an “it won’t happen again” occurrence. But you know what? It felt good. I thought I could control it at just one.

After my initial foray into tissue tucking, I’ve had to fight the urge not to tuck two, three, or four at a time. Like any addict it doesn’t matter how much self-talk I engage in, I’m back at it before long.

Now I’m losing my “not in public” filter because this week I did the unthinkable: I wore pants without pockets. I have a penchant for pockets, often wearing garments that sport them because I can keep the necessities at hand.

I was at work. I stood there just outside my office, not being able to pocket my tissue, so I just held it in my hand, looking as though I was grappling with a weighty decision of epic proportions. And I was. Where was my tissue supposed to go? 

For some reason I thought a loud, diverting cough would help as I made a percussive move toward my sweater sleeve. How can something so wrong feel so right? I have to face the facts. I’m a living inversion of nurture versus nature, which really puts my nose out of joint. 

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