A Food Critic’s Monologue To The Little Prince At The Next Table

I am much-feared, elusive, Banksy of food critics BITCHEETA KRITEEK, sampling barely-dressed, as for a pool party, “Garlic Pommes Frites,” when I hear a piercing scream and that universal, singsong taunt of one-upmanship children are fond of doing—“Na-na na-na nah!” Glancing over, I see you sitting there, a curly-haired, doe-eyed little moppet–middle finger rammed up your right nostril. A nostril, I observe (given its exaggerated distortion) that seems a tad tiny for so large a protuberance, especially one that is wiggling. Your parents (presumably?) have their backs to me. Given they’re calling you “Puggy-Wuggy,” I suspect they’re proponents of the “Do-What-You-Want-Sweetie-Because-We-Want-To-Be-Your-Friend” School of Parenting—which is all well and good. To what degree, though, do you want to be theirs? You’re like some insolent, sixteenth-century prince, with his own “whipping boy,” who knows he can do anything, with impunity, so milks it.

Here’s Dad pointing his smartphone camera at you, while Mom—bless her squishy marshmallow heart—begs you to continue. Why pray, so Dad can capture your insouciant nose picking & post a fun video–to augment the glut of cute kids and other animals being delightfully naughty on YouTube?

By your sly smile, mischief is afoot. Is nose mining the passive-aggressive equivalent of giving them the finger? Is that how you get your jollies—seeing how far you can repulse your parents before they succumb to savagery—in this, a restaurant? You know them, though, don’t you, young Puggy-Wuggy? They’ll put up with anything, because you’re their “Little Prince.” I bet Mom showed off her ultrasounds on Facebook; posts thousands of photos, sending her girlfriends into wide-eyed, orgasmic idolatry (or seething, jealous rages!), wishing they could have given you birth. While other, less maternal or more rational friends, tired of the ad nauseam display of your ongoing greatness may be tempted to un-friend her.

The Greek philosopher Aristotle once said, “Give me a child until he is 7, and I will show you the man.” I predict that you, young sir, will be a most confident, if annoying fellow.

Because here you are, bypassing your parents, giving me—THE GREAT BITCHEETA– a cock-eyed, toothy grin, while vigorously finger fucking (forgive me, “foraging”) your right nostril. I’m honored, your majesty, on being the recipient of such intimacy. After a minute of this–how can I put it, indulgence?–you extract a booger, examine it with Frank Sinatra cool, deposit it on your tongue and eat it, smacking your lips in satisfaction. Your parents laugh—Hahaha. What a clever little Puggy-Wuggy you are. How could anyone, NOT love you? Meanwhile, I’m eating a rib-eye steak as chewy as car tires. 

Nonetheless, let’s get a grip on reality here. Let’s not get carried away with our importance. It’s not like you’ve won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, having discovered some new species of edible mushroom–in the peripheral olfactory systems of small boys.

Admittedly, nostrils can become clogged upon occasion, and the pinkie (as opposed to the middle finger—take note!) is a perfect fit. For all I know, those little nose treats are as delicious to you as those sweet potato fries you are currently stuffing, cormorant-fashion, down your gullet—and, given your cough (such a horrible cough!), seasoned to perfection with a sprinkle of COVID. Indeed, strenuous technique aside, your virtuosic fishing and sequential sampling may reveal a sophisticated palate, a future gastronome, a lover of all foods slippery, tangy and experimental, such as escargot, capers and vegan “Foie Gras.” In other words (God forbid!), a food critic.   

Much as you enjoy it, however, nose picking is satisfying only to the one who is picking.  In addition, while your parents might not mind how their offspring gets his nutrition, I have news for you. Unless you happen to be under the age of four, which, by my estimation you have surpassed by two years, those bite-sized hors d’oeuvres (amuse-bouches—in culinary circles)have scant nutritional value. Nor are they technically food, despite the salt, calcium and protein (from deceased insects), and anything that happens to float by and take up residence in your tiny nose caves.

Put another way: there comes a time when mother’s milk, whether from breast or bottle, is no longer on the menu. Moreover, out of a sense of decency and embarrassment, you close the door when jerking off or taking a poop. The same applies to nose picking. Public displays of it become passé, less de rigueur. In other words, you outgrow certain habits. 

So a request, your Royal Nose-Gobbling-Puggy-Wuggy-ness: Do it at home, preferably in the privacy of your gilded bathroom, where you can feast away on those mini food bags to your little heart’s content. Oh, and with all those germs, do wash your hands afterward!

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