State Councillor Aleksandr Grigorievich Schnozzkov

I've got a modest proposal.

There are a million different medical abbreviations, and most of them are not standardized. This create problems, understandably, when there's no glossary of terms provided and an AA (that's "ambiguous acronym", btw) leads to unclear records.

And yeah, that can be dangerous, but it has nothing to do with my proposal! I just want to take about a little problem: the lack of ND, NS, and NU in medical terminology. They don't exist, and I'm outraged!

Some medical shorthands are nearly universal, and the universal-ist of them all are AS, AD, AU, OS, OD, and OU; they're descriptors of the left and right ears and eyes, respectively. Aura dextra, latin for "right ear" is very commonly abbreviated to AD. Aura Sinistra (AS) for "left ear", and Aures Unitas (AU) for "both ears". Likewise, "left eye" can be abbreviated OS for Oculus Sinistra (although that kinda sounds like Mark Zuckerberg's helicopter).

At least in my experience, these are unmistakable. But there's another bilaterally symmetric organ on the face that's being left out, The Nose!

Sniff, sniff, did I surprise you?

The poor Nose, subject of a humiliating, proto-magical-realism short story by Nikolai Gogol in 1836, and now left out on the fun of capital letter abbreviation while the other facial orifices get cred via brief latinized recognizability. This is really unfair, why are we not abbreviating the nostrils (or nares) as ND, NS, and NU?!

Is it the boogers? Eyes get boogers too! And you should see the stuff that comes out Labrador ears, it's much worse than anything I've seen exit a nostril. This is a complete and unjustifiable double standard!!! Just because humans are a vision-centric species doesn't mean the nose can be top dog to other animals (like, to dogs!).

To add insult to injury, the Nose has been around a lot longer than the other two, who only really got going during the Cambrian explosion, a mere 540 million years ago. But much before that, when organisms could do little more than just sniff around for food, it was the Nose doing the dirty work to keep evolution going.

Just look at the anatomy! The olfactory nerve, which transmits smelly information to the brain, is so old that it actually has a direct route. It bypasses the thalamus, the part of the brain that relays and coordinates all other sensory information, because it was there before the thalamus existed! And only occasionally does this anatomical quirk end up giving a neuron-eating amoeba-like parasite free access into the brain. Nobody's perfect.

The point is, the Nose hasn't done anything wrong, and it didn't get invited to the party. It breaks my heart to see an organ so selfless- willing to start running at any moment, willing to hold up glasses for the Eyes (okay sure the Ears help with that too), willing to wear a foam red rubber ball and instantly convey the idea of a clown- be the one left out. The Nose bleeds for me, and if it bleeds for you too, let's say it out loud (and nasally) together, "NU! NU! NU!"

"Cut down a tree with a herring? It can't be done!"

Greg Bishop

Greg Bishop

A veterinarian with unquenchable creative impulses. Unquenchable? Hmmm... creative "tendencies"? Well, it depends on how well I slept last night. Also a writer, illustrator and whatever-elser.