Friday, October 25, 2013

The Noses Have It

"Schnozola" aka Jimmy Durante

There was a time in my life when I was mortified that I had such a large......nose.  

Growing up my father rarely missed an opportunity to remind me that I had a big nose.  I don't ever remember him calling me by my given name ("Ronnie" at that time, I changed my first name to "Ron" when I went into the Army).  He called me "Beak."  Yes, he was that kind of father. What we call a "Boy Named Sue" father.

Me and my nose graduation picture 1959

Raised in a small town and being reminded of my deformity almost daily, I had very low self esteem, although that term wasn't known to be at that time (the Fifties).  I just thought I was a mess.

I hated it when a photo was taken of my profile, showing my "beak" in all its glory.  I felt like that old cold commercial where the whole head is a nose.  

" Schnoz", which is defined as slang, a nose, especially a large one" was another affectionate term Pop used to lay on me.  However, he did leave out some other favorites like hooter, snout, nozzle and honker.

So I was pretty well screwed up about my physical appearance when I boarded that Trailways bus at the Philadelphia terminal on a cold January day in 1960 for Ft. Dix, New Jersey.

I remember so well holding my head down after I was seated because I didn't want anybody to notice my big schnoz.  Much to my surprise, nobody did!

Me, Basic Training - still got the nose but no one noticed - 1960

Seriously, I was prepared for humiliation and whatever because of my nose with a face attached and NOTHING HAPPENED.  

Guess what?  By the time I hit the Reception Company (or rather the Reception Company hit me) at Ft. Dix, I forgot all about my proboscis.

In fact, after a couple of years I actually came to believe that I wasn't that bad looking.  Not the most handsome guy in the world, but passable.  

Me - still with a prominent nose but I think it goes with my face now - maybe my face grew into my nose - 1974

And another "in fact", I now am rather proud of my prominent nose.  Just goes to show you how things can turn around. 

Me now - I'm glad I have a "schnoz" - I would rather have one of these than one of those pixie noses - gives me character (I think) Besides, if it works for Owen Wilson it can work for me.


Jack said...


I have looked at the pictures you posted three times and I cannot see the big nose. I see an average size nose in the first two pictures and slightly larger in the last two, but I think camera angle has a lot to do with how it looks. To me it is distinctive and it goes with your face. Jimmy Durante, Karl Malden and Barbara Striesand, now those were noses. Nobody in my family made fun of me until I entered puberty. Hair growing in places it never grew before was something my father liked to point out to anybody who would listen. Try living with that when all of the changes that come with puberty are hard to deal with, at least for me they were. That being said, I personally always thought my ears stuck out too far and my hair (before I started losing it prematurely at the age of 19) went in all directions. In the summer my parents always made me get a buzz cut but I could never get it to stand straight up or have a flat top as it was called back then. Then they let me grow it back in the winter so you can imagine just how that went. By the time it grew in and was manageable it was summer again. I wouldn't mind having some of those problems now.

I think our perception of ourselves is quite different than how others see us.

An early happy birthday.


Ron said...


Now I realize my nose goes with my face. If I had changed it, I wouldn't look natural. I never had a problem with a buzz cut. In fact I just got one today! My hair, even though I have a receding hairline, still stands like a bristle brush.

You are right in that our perception of ourselves is quite different than how others see us. Sometimes totally different.


Jon said...

There's absolutely nothing wrong with your nose in any of the photos. You look perfectly normal. Thank God you didn't get a nose job and wind up looking like Zsa Zsa Gabor. It's amazing how being mercilessly teased in our childhood can screw up the rest of our lives. The people who enjoy inflicting criticism are covering up for their own inadequacies.

My father seldom mentioned anything about my looks, but his CONSTANT relentless cruel and cutting criticisms scarred me for life. His words always cut like a knife. I hated myself for many years. I was 6'1", with blond hair and blue eyes but I thought I was the ugliest person on earth.
My later extreme promiscuity was my pathetic way of validating my desirability.

Heck, I'm rambling again. Anyway, your post (as usual) is really interesting.

Ron said...


I would have really screwed myself up if I did get a nose job. So glad I didn't. I've often wondered if my father realized how much damage he did by his unrelenting mocking of my during my formative years, would my life have been different if he hadn't treated me the way he did.

You were born with the ideal All-American good looks. Tall, blonde, and blue-eyed. But when nothing you hear is criticism it is not surprising that you would think you were "the ugliest person on earth." Well, you're not Jon. You're a very nice person with a lot of talent and a lot of loyal fans who follow your blog. Thank you for your comment.


Raybeard said...

If you hadn't mentioned your nose, I, and just about everyone else, would never have particularly looked at it. In fact your shaven face shows that you have a good expanse between your nose and upper lip, which is bigger than mine, though please don't get self-conscious about THAT now (hardly likely at our stage of life). A truly big nose casts a shadow - as it does with the wonderful 'Schnozzle' Durante. Yours does not.

nitewrit said...


Never really took that much notice of your nose, seemed like a perfectly normal one to me. It was well-formed. But I understand, I had my own demons concerning certain features that others made fun of, although basically I wasn't relly abnormal either. Shame what some do to others. Of course, both our dads had boy-named-sue mentalities.On the other hand, about your...oh never mind.


Ron said...


Now there is something I HADN'T noticed before, the HUGE expanse of upper lip I have between my nose and lip. Wow. I think I'm going to bed now and pull the covers over my head. How did my father ever miss that golden opportunity to mock me? Thanks, I think. :)


Ron said...


I think both of our fathers were a bit miffed that we didn't turn out to be truck drivers like they were. I wonder why our fathers had the "Boy Named Sue" mentality? Perhaps because of some self doubts they had about themselves. I know you your father was none to thrilled that I was your friend nor vice versa (my father wasn't thrilled with you either). Oh well, at least you didn't pass on that legacy to your son. But then you did name him "Darryl" even after you knew your name was Larry. Thank goodness you only had one son. Two "Darryls"?


pat888 said...


Some of our features we have no control over simply because we inherit them from our parents. And parts of us, too, I believe are a result of how we were nurtured. However, at some point in our lives I think our personalities and maturing have an effect on the way we look. And I'd judge from your looks that you are a man who certainly looks after himself and has a very very good disposition. And are you aware of just how blue your eyes are?


Ron said...


An interesting thesis that our personalities and maturing have an effect on the way we look. I've always prioritized taking care of myself both physically and mentally. Not always as successful as I would have wished but at this time of my life I think I've maintained the old car chassis pretty well. And I would like to think I have a good disposition, I've always been predisposed to have a positive outlook on life.

Yes Pat, I have been told before that I have blue eyes. The first time was a guy who I had a crush on in high school. He said "Do you know how blue your eyes are?" I was thrilled beyond all my expectations but nothing came of it. Over the years I've been told the "blue eyes" thing but never thought too much of it because I've seen others with really blue eyes. But I do appreciate your kind compliment. At this time of my life I take all the compliments I can get since the rest of my face is beginning to resemble Mount Rushmore.


Ur-spo said...

I think your nose is just fine.

Ron said...

Dr. Spo,

I also think my nose is just fine now. It is unfortunate that the first 17 years of my life I believed that I had a serious physical deformity. Oh the damage one's parents can do with their thoughtless actions. I've often wondered if I had more self-esteem while I was growing up how much different my life would have been. But I do believe there is a reason for everything and maybe this "Boy Named Sue" mentality of my father made me a stronger person.