From “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency” by Douglas Adams


Some people pick their noses, others habitually beat up old ladies on the streets. Reg's vice was a harmless if peculiar one - an addiction to childish conjuring tricks. Richard remembered the first time he had been to see Reg with a problem - it was only the normal Angst that periodically takes undergraduates into its grip, particularly when they have essays to write, but it had seemed a dark and savage weight at the time. Reg had sat and listened to his outpourings with a deep frown of concentration, and when at last Richard had finished, he pondered seriously, stroked his chin a lot, and at last leaned forward and looked him in the eye.

'I suspect that your problem,' he said, 'is that you have too many paper clips up your nose.'

Richard stared at him.

'Allow me to demonstrate,' said Reg, and leaning across the desk he pulled from Richard's nose a chain of eleven paper clips and a small rubber swan.

'Ah, the real culprit,' he said, holding up the swan. 'They come in cereal packets, you know, and cause no end of trouble. Well, I'm glad we've had this little chat, my dear fellow. Please feel free to disturb me again if you have any more such problems.'

Needless to say, Richard didn't.