Who knew that the simple act of blowing one's nose in public could start a ripple effect that would put a man in jail? And he wasn't even blowing snot-rockets.

The trouble began at an Atlanta subway station, when Alfred Murphy walked up to a maintenance worker's cart to grab some paper towels so he could blow his nose. A cop saw him do that and told Murphy he was forbidden from taking the paper towels. Murphy ignored the cop and continued to unspool the towels, that he might press his face into their sandpaper-like texture and clear his nasal cavities to his heart's content.

At this point, Alfred was really nose-blowing up a storm, which only angered the cop more. The officer ordered him to stop blowing his nose — in the name of the law! Alfred countered, fairly I think, that his subway fare should give him access to Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority's various amenities, including the paper towels on the cart.

Ordered to leave the station, Alfred instead went to an emergency phone and "began to make incoherent statements about being assaulted and officers trying to kill him," according to the police report. The cop called for backup. Alfred "then became violent and began to struggle while holding on to the telephone receiver." He hit one cop in the face, cutting his forehead and cheek, and punched the other in the nose, causing it to bleed. Alfred was then arrested at the scene, and charged with two counts of battery, obstruction and hindering of a law enforcement officer and criminal trespassing.

If you take anything away from this, it's to invest in one of those little Kleenex packages they sell at magazine stands. They could mean the difference between your freedom and a life behind bars — and in the big house, the nose-blowers get it worst. [AJC, photo via Shutterstock]