Friends, Romans, and countrymen, lend me your ... attention! I bet you thought I was going to say “ears,” didn’t you? Well, we’re headed in that direction this week, to pay homage to those two fleshy things sticking out of the side of your head because, well, everything is worthy of some sort of recognition, right?
I heard somewhere that as we age, our ears continue to grow (along with our noses, but that’s a subject for another time). Being the senior citizen in denial that I am, I have to concur when I look at others. And, no, I’m not checking my own. The lobes just seem to droop and droop, until it looks like our ears have sprouted little mud flaps that sway back and forth. If it was because of the weight of hefty earrings, I could maybe accept that, but I don’t own the first pair. Hmmm ....
The first memory I have of my ears is still ringing in them when I yet hear my mama hollering down the hallway towards the bathroom: “You could grow taters behind them dirty ears of yours, so you’d best wash behind ‘em good!” And, yes, mine were inspected a time or two, and for the record, no taters were ever found.
Like most people, I’ve taken my ears for granted for all my life. As long as I keep hearing stuff, they’re doing their job, so I just leave them alone. I never cared much for sunglasses, and it’s just been in recent years that I’ve started wearing readers to see with—and now prescription glasses. So that means my ears are being borrowed by my eyes to support them. Good ol’ teamwork, I reckon.
What else is there to say about ears? I know we have to keep them clean, inside and out, or be mortified by an ENT who we will pay to dig a wad of wax out of them the size of a meatball. Another strange thing is that as we age, you can look in the mirror and spot a thatch of hair growing in them. Apparently, that’s par for the course, as other hair begins to sprout here and there, where it never was before. Who knew that old age meant turning into a Chia Pet?
One time I was playing music under a streetlight after dark, and a big old hairy moth made a beeline for my head and bogged himself deep into my ear so far that I thought his antennae were sticking out of the my other ear. It was more than unsettling. He didn’t want to be there any more than I wanted him to be, and of course neither one of us was remaining calm about it. The more I tried to dig him out with my pinky finger, the further I pushed him in, I think. My notion that the ear canal was a very small passageway was proven wrong pretty quickly, as that sucker had enough room to squirm, kick, and flutter and it felt like he was playing “Wipeout” on my eardrum with all that thrashing around. And, yes, it was loud. Long story short, he died there and was thankfully extracted the next day. And ever since, I’ve been on the lookout for some kind of little screen doors I can put on my ears.
Another memory I have concerning ears concerns their abuse by others. Who hasn’t had somebody sneak up behind them on a cold winter’s day and give them a good thumping? And then there was always the very invasive “Wet Willy” that I shouldn’t have to explain to you. If you’ve had one, you’ll never forget it. If you haven’t, your time is coming.
I just noticed that I’m up to my ears in notes I’ve made for this column, but am out of room, so I reckon I’ll close here. If you have some stories on the subject you’d like to share, though, I’ll be (you guessed it) all ears!