This is a humorous tale from the book Three Minute Tales–Stories from around the world to tell or read when time is short by Margaret Read MacDonald.
There was a young feller went courtin’his girlfriend.
Her folks brought him into the sitting room and they all sat around making small talk.
They sat and sat.
Pretty soon his nose started to run.
He’d forgotten to bring along a handerchief and didn’t know just what to do.
He snuffled a while.
Looked around the room.
Suddenly he had a bright idea.
“Say! I think that picture over there …
would look a lot better over there!”
The teller mimes wiping his nose with his sleeves while pointing first to the left and then to the right. His index finger runs under his nose while pointing to the left, then his sleeve wipes the nose as it follows his finger.
A jest widely known throughout the U.S. from the author’s mother, Midlred Amick, of Jennings County, Indiana.
Oddly, my father told me of a similar jest done by a Jordanian boy from Irbid (my home town in Jordan). I forgot the story but of course still remember the funny part. At the end of the story the boy says “It is over there” or maybe “It is all the way over there!” They boy’s index finger runs under his nose while pointing to the left, then his sleeve wipes the nose as it follows his finger. I wish I remember the Jordanian version. I wonder what other culture’s version is? I highly doubt this jest only known in US and Jordan.