A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from April 12, 2015
“Why is it that our nose runs, but our feet smell?”

"Why is it that our nose runs, but our feet smell?” is a joke that dates back to at least 1902, when this joke appeared in many newspapers:

“The following is told by a teacher in the public schools of Owosso. She was telling a class of her small pupils the anatomy. She said: ‘The eyes are to see with, the nose to smell and the feet to run with.’ At this point a little boy brought tears to the teacher’s eyes by saying: ‘That isn’t the way with papa. His nose runs and his feet smell.’”

“If your nose runs and your feet smell, you were born upside down” was cited in 1966.


14 January 1902, Shelby (IN) Republican, pg. 3, col. 1:
The following is told by a teacher in the public schools of Owosso. She was telling a class of her small pupils the anatomy. She said: “The eyes are to see with, the nose to smell and the feet to run with.” At this point a little boy brought tears to the teacher’s eyes by saying: “That isn’t the way with papa. His nose runs and his feet smell.”

Chronicling America
21 February 1902, The Democrat-Star (Pescagoula, MS), pg. 4, col. 2:
A school teacher was telling her class of pupils some thing about anatomy. She said: “The eyes are to see with, the nose is to smell with and the feet are to run with.” At this point a little boy interrupted, saying: “That isn’t the way with papa. His nose runs and his feet smells.”

30 April 1905, The Sunday Herald (Boston, MA), Magazine, pg. 12, col. 4:
HIS IMPERFECTIONS.
(By Miss Dora L. Elmes, Wrentham.)
THIS incident is a true one. It happened in a town not many miles from here. The teacher had just finished instructing her Sunday school class of boys. Wishing to bring out the point of the lesson more fully, she remarked: “Now all bright boys have eyes to see with, a nose to smell with, ears to hear with, a tongue to speak with, hands to work with and feet to run with.” After a few minutes one little boy, who had been very thoughtful, said, sorrowfully: “I guess I ain’t very bright then, for my nose runs and my feet smell.”

14 May 1905, The Sunday Herald (Boston, MA), Magazine, pg. 12, col. 2:
OFF IN NOSE AND FEET.
(By Werner Helmboldt, Walter street, Roslindale.)
GEORGE HERRICK was once well known in the district schools around Pemaquid, Me. When he first began his teaching he would open the day with a little serious discussion which often proved to be quite beyond some of the younger tots. One day the following incident occurred:

“Children,” he said, “I want you all to realize that you should strive to accomplish something definite in life. We were made for a purpose. It is just so in everything. Consider our bodies. Our eyes were made to see with, our ears were made to hear with, our noses to smell with, our feet to run with—“

Suddenly there was a commotion on the benches where the youngest children sat, and one little fellow began to cry.

“What is the matter?” asked Mr. Herrick, patiently.

“Oh!” sobbed the little fellow. “I’m not made right. My nose runs and my feet smell.”

Google Books
Mirrors, Mice & Mustaches;
A Sampling of Superstititions and Popular Beliefs in Texas
By George David Hendricks
Dallas, TX: Southern Methodist University Press
1967, ©1966
Pg. 10:
If your nose runs and your feet smell, you were born upside down.

Google Books
5,000 One and Two Liners for Any and Every Occasion
By Leopold Fechtner
West Nyack, NY: Parker Publishing Company, Inc.
1973
Pg. 37:
I think he was born upside down. His nose runs and his feet smell.

OCLC WorldCat record
When my nose runs where does it go
Author: Jennifer L Rogala; Jacob Nicholas
Publisher: College Station, TX : Virtualbookworm.com, ©2006.
Edition/Format: Print book : Juvenile audience : English
Database: WorldCat
Summary:
“Can a fence really run aroudn a house? Can the face fo a clock blush? Can you eat with a fork in the road? The same word can be used to describe different things. This book uses silly questions to show how one word can be used in different ways. Most of the questions refer to parts of the human body or to actions that the human body can perform."-cover.

Twitter
Wordsmith.
‏@WS_TheWriteWay
Why is it that your nose runs, but your feet smell? #puns #jokes #humour #funny
5:48 AM - 12 Apr 2015

Twitter
Adult Credit
‏@PeelAdultCredit
MONDAY’S MYSTERY
Did you ever wonder about the mysteries of the English language?
Why do your feet smell and your nose runs?
6:34 AM - 13 Apr 2015

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityExercise/Running/Health Clubs • Sunday, April 12, 2015 • Permalink