While watching one of the TV doctor shows recently, I witnessed a phenomenon that flabbergasted me. (Frequent haunters of my web toots will attest that I am easily flabbergasted, though. My gast gets flabbered at least twice a week. I may indeed rightly claim the crown of the King of Flabber.) Grown men and women, of the highly educated variety, were sticking tiny teapot nozzles up their noses and, heads tilted at crazy angles, pouring water in one nostril and out the other. To my knowledge, no drugs were involved.
I guess the idea is to clean out the nasal and sinus passages. Seems to me you could accomplish the same thing more easily by using the spray nozzle on the kitchen sink. Well, unless your water supply is infected with brain-eating parasites, which apparently is a legitimate concern. (Though, personally, I’m more afraid of illegitimate concerns.) The inventive mind is a wonderful contraption. I give a hearty nasal woo-hoo to the people whose brains hatched this medical procedure. Believe me, you could have given me the next million years, and this idea would never have occurred to me.
It turns out the little teapots are called neti pots, after Fred and Ethel Neti, of Flushing, Wyoming, who came up with the idea in 1872 while under attack from the Sioux, who were in training for the upcoming match with Custer. It must have seemed to be a sensible alternative at the time. Inexplicably, the practice did not catch on, and was largely forgotten for generations.
As I often do in these cases, I decided to gaze in the Misty Mirror, looking for some clarity in the situation. Ah, the Misty Mirror never fails. A deep, repressed memory of my Aunt Nettie Potts quickly sprang to mind. And let me tell you, there’s no better feeling than having your mind quickly sprung.
Aunt Nettie was the daughter of Teddy and Betty Potts, granddaughter of Freddy and Hedy Potts. To my knowledge, there was no relationship between Freddy Potts and Freddy Neti. But whatever the source, Aunt Nettie would indulge in a variation of the modern neti pot therapy. She would use a full-size teapot, complete with cream and sugar. First one nostril, then the other. “Come on, young ‘un,” she’d coo at me when I visited. “Time to sweeten up that nose.” I’d run and hide in the closet.
To her credit, Aunt Nettie Potts came up with an innovation of her own. Her teapot would also double as an earwax remover. Just pour the tea in your ear, slosh it around by violently shaking your head, then drain it by hanging upside down by the knees from monkey bars.
I recall that, in her later years, Aunt Nettie was committed.
Whatever the dubious lineage of the neti pot, it is apparently sweeping the nation like a bad boy broom. I imagine it will eventually take its rightful place in the Fad Hall of Fame, right next to pet rocks, hula hoops, and cell phones. So flare those nostrils, tilt that head, and whoosh away your troubles.