Late last night, I was having an in-depth conversation about Tycho Brahe. Why? Because that’s the sort of uber-smart super-cool person I am. And because stars are cool, and measurements are cooler, and I’m the kind of nit-picky person who likes redundancy and repeated observations. Of course, as all enlightened conversations do, ours eventually wound down into the mundane – Tycho’s fake nose (we’re appropriate conversationalists – we don’t get into mercury poisoning and UTIs).
Personally, I am all about the nose. I love the smell of autumn, the smell of dew in the morning, and the not-quite-greasy smell of old metal. I have allergies, so the consistent sneezing reminds me of my own nose. In addition, my German heritage gives me the facial spine to judge other, lesser noses. I get offended when people stroke my nose and firmly intend (at times) to knock other noses out of joint. A nose is a terrible thing to lose, and I sympathize with Tycho. In addition, carrying the weight of a plastered on metal fake-nose must have been a burden.
Still, the nose can occasionally get in the way. When you’re peering out of a window, it restricts the angle of your vision. When you’re smooching, it can be an awkward protuberance. It’s one of the first things to get snapped ina fist fight, and like ears (as Tycho can attest to) it can easily be lopped off. One of my friends noted that making certain nighttime observations, the nose prevents a direct line of sight. Of course, this little tidbit suggests the monumental question: Did Tycho Brahe remove his nose to make celestial observations? You be the judge.