Unequivocally Ambiguous

Humorous Stories on Parenting, Culture and Life

Ketchup and Boogers for Lunch

by | Nov 24, 2021 | Society | 0 comments

Letting my daughter do her thing

I believe all men feel this way. It doesn’t matter how hard we try to mirror the level of outrage our partners show; we always come up short.

This opens the door to giving very unhelpful parenting advice.

Like when my wife told me she didn’t know what to do when my baby kicked her at diaper change time. I told her, “the problem is that you are not expecting it. Your guard is so low that an entire blimp can fit through it.”

That’s not fair because I had learned on the job and omitted that. One time I was gently trashing an old diaper when I felt my daughter kicking me right on the back of my head. I thought I was done with bar brawls, but little did I know that I was wrong. I kept my guard up since that day.

Recently, my wife has been upset that our daughter is in a stage I call “oral exploration.”

To put it bluntly, my daughter picks her boogers and likes to caress them around her lips. Because we are typically in the car, there is not much we can do to stop her. It’s gross, I know. But I think it is just a phase.

So my ‘what’s the big deal?’ stock response to my wife didn’t really cut it, and according to her, it didn’t show me as involved.

But what is the big deal?


If you have lived all your life and you haven’t eaten a booger, are you even human? Think about that. You might be in the matrix, or you might be a robot, and you don’t even know it.

I’m close to forty, and every now and then, I’ll sneak one just so I don’t forget what they taste like.

Is there anything more terroir than a booger? People pay big dollars for wines to taste like the ground they were grown in.

Now, let me take a pause here.

I don’t typically like to write instructional material because I think there are well-intentioned people out there more concerned with that. They tell you about the 500 daily shortcuts to happiness you need to be taking now when you struggle to get out of bed and put your pants on.

But living in the wine country of California, I have come across some helpful tips now and then for wine appreciation that I’d be remiss and stingy if I didn’t share them with you.

So in the interest of time, let me share with you my favorite one.

An excellent way to impress your friends is by describing wines in a way that you would describe the personality of someone.

So the next time you have a delicious 2018 Malbec from… wherever they grow this cool-sounding grape. Then you can say something like, (smack of the tongue, eyes rolling back like you are being exorcised), “hmmm, this wine tastes like a middle-aged frustrated corporate manager who was bullied in school and never recovered from the trauma. I can taste it in the tip of my tongue, which is funny because his tip is what I feel when said manager hovers over my shoulder when he is ‘checking on my progress.’”

Let me ask you again, is there anything more terroir than boogers?

Your boogers are the result of the air and dust you breathe everywhere you go. If you close your eyes, you might taste the sterile air, the ultraviolet light used to keep you awake, and the notes of disappointment of all your futile corporate meetings.

You can also use the technique I just showed you to describe boogers. Commuting two hours to your dreadful 8-to-forever corporate gig (smack of the tongue, eyes rolling back like you are being exorcised), “I taste hints of berry and the quiet desperation of all my dreams fleeting away in one more unnecessary, pointless meeting that could’ve been a tweet.”

If people couldn’t eat boogers, the whole macroeconomic structure of society would collapse because people wouldn’t commute two hours in winter to their dead-end jobs. Think about it. If you commute in the winter, it’s dark when you go to work, and it’s dark when you go home, so you can pick your nose the entire way there and back.

Plus, boogers have plenty of umami.

Hmmm, umami.

Now that’s a flavor you know doesn’t exist.

There’s probably an obscure documentary out there that asks a Japanese chef. “Hey, what are the four flavors?” And the chef said, “salty, sweet, sour, spicy.” Then before the interviewer could move to the next question, the chef says, “and, also, umami.”

Said chef died and never told anyone that he was high as a hot air balloon in the interview.

But he never clarified it, and everybody from London to Parise, from New York to San Francisco, went berzerk on this “new” flavor. They ran with it because it was pretentious. After all, no one can tell with certainty what umami is and that’s what great cons are made of. There is a certain level of religious faith that goes into it, “you just have to leap, and the umami net will be there waiting for you.”

It is so pretentious.

But that’s not to say I don’t like pretentious. At one point in my life, I want to pitch investors my concept for a groundbreaking restaurant. It will be called Invisible Ink. This restaurant will be very expensive. It will be very profitable, too, because the overhead will be minor since there will be no food. The waiters will ask you to recall flavors as memories, and then they will help you combine them through their meticulous storytelling.

“Next, we will have a four feet tall tower of caviar covered in avocado.”
“I’ve never had caviar and avocado.”
“Well, whose fault is that?”

I think my wife is troubled by my daughter’s behavior because of what other people might say. That is the worst reason to do anything. Especially meddling in something that might be better left alone. There are so many things in our lives that need less of us.

For example, I took my daughter out to lunch a few months back. I ordered ribs, Brussel sprouts, chicken tenders, and french fries. What did my daughter eat? Nothing.

She decided to go for the ketchup ramekin and scoop it out into her mouth with her index finger. Did I do anything to stop it? No. I know that my daughter eats well at home most of the time, so I am not going to get into a power struggle with a human being who doesn’t know to form a sentence yet.

I think it was the right course of action because this weekend, we went to the same restaurant and ordered the same things, and this time my daughter had chicken, ribs, fries, and ketchup. The ketchup was still the primary building block of her meal, but it went down from 100% to 60%. That’s because progress happens without us getting in the middle of it.

All things go by. Why get in the middle?

All these uncomfortable situations pass.

Like when my daughter would point at her vagina when I was changing her diaper expecting me to name it.

So while my daughter was pointing and my wife was supervising my diaper changing skills, I would say, “yes, honey, that is your Va-giant.” “yes, honey, that is your va-jay-jay.” One day my wife finally shouted, “it’s a vagina! You have to call it a vagina!! Even if it’s uncomfortable to say.”

I’m not uncomfortable with the word vagina. Look below. I typed it like nobody’s business.

Vagina. Vagina. Vagina!

It’s not that I’m uncomfortable with the word. It’s just that growing up in Colombia, we always use more colorful and euphemistic language to describe genitalia.

Our moms referred to our penises as a Pajarito, which means little birdie. Thinking about it now, helps me understand why Hispanic men tend to have issues with monogamy. If their penis is a little bird, you can only imagine that the vagina, the penis counterpart, is the birdcage. It also explains why they love so much Maya Angelou’s “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings.”

But even that moment is now behind us and we are starting to potty-train our daughter.

Things evolve, but we are so preoccupied with getting right all the time that we live in an inescapable circle of shame and guilt and worry instead of trying to get it okay most of the time.

The ironic thing is that all the extra energy might make things easier for you to accomplish more. So you heard it here first: eating boogers are better energy boosters than taurine and sugar-laced drinks.

Subscribe to my YouTube channel to watch my spoken word pieces and rants.

Consider supporting my artistic journey through my Patreon.

Or buy my book on Amazon, A Kick in the Balls.


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