When we first heard about the trend, we assumed it would be a hit among the sleek big-breasted co-eds—a way they could be seen, without being sexualized, but in the end it was short, stubby girls who really made it cool.
Visiting a local high school, I passed one, a slightly iridescent African-American in a curly rainbow wig.
After glimpsing the rubber nose, hanging from my belt-loop, she looked straight at me and smiled.
She didn’t need to say a thing for me to know exactly what she meant.
It was the year all the clouds resembled noses. Some were clean buttons, but others were dripping with cumulus snot.
We missed the variety of previous eras—clouds shaped like the Eiffel Tower or geodesic domes.
Once there was a cloud that resembled the schnozzle of a popular reality star—you could see the movement of the celebrity’s breath mirrored in its shifts.
I tried to stay awake all day and night, so I could record its trembles with my cellular phone.
I had hoped to post it online, but by the time I realized I had fallen asleep the nose-cloud had become two separate clouds, two unrelated nose-forms, neither of them famous at all.
It was the year young women wore blue jeans with carefully ripped holes, holes revealing leggings, and in the knees of the leggings, little rips, glimpses of neon paisley tights.
In the paisley tights there were holes, and through these holes we could see little patches of perfect skin-colored knee-makeup.
In the knee-makeup, there would be always be a gap where the real skin would peek out, and in that gap would be another hole and in it a surgically implanted transparent window revealing veins, and under the veins there would be muscles, predictable bones.
Inside those bones, we could see little tubes, and inside those tubes, there was the beginning or the end of language. I didn’t know which, but I knew it was a kind of happiness like a crooked line is happy or like a million crooked lines are even happier.
I thought of it as a great yellow swooping, maybe the music of glaciers melting, or mislaid planets slowly re-adjusting their orbits.