Saturday, July 24, 2010


There was a stiff breeze blowing as I stepped out of the cottage Sunday afternoon on my way to the beer cooler. I’d gone barely a few steps when something small and hard slammed into the side of my head. Not the side exactly. My ear actually. And not the top of my ear, or my ear lobe, or on one of the hard ridges that lie between them either. In what must have been a navigational million to one shot, this something plunged deep into my inner ear.

My amygdala took over and twisted my head up and to the left -- my eyes turned skyward as my fingers clawed into my ear. Something seemed to fall from the far edge of my peripheral vision but I couldn’t be sure what it was. I stood and wondered: What had hit me and where was it now?

I lay down on the couch and kept very still trying to recreate from memory what had just happened. I was alone. Only the laughter of little children splashing in the nearby lake disturbed the quietude. Then I heard something: a soft rustling sound at first, it amplified steadily to a scratchy clawing until it sounded like the movie soundtrack to a cheesy horror flick -- and it was inside my head.

And then it moved. I jumped off the couch and begin pounding the left side of my head in the foolish hope it would pop the tormentor out of my right ear. It stopped moving. I lay back down, outwardly calm but inside my head Lil Ed and the Blues Imperials played “Compact Man,” raw and hyped-up, manufacturing adrenalin and preparing me to jump again. I remembered the “Twilight Zone” episode in which the earwig crawls into a man’s ear and eats it way to his brain. At least my new friend was still a couple inches from gray matter and trying to exit, not enter.

What could I do? Who could help? It was a Sunday. I was alone, and in the back woods ten miles from a small town hospital. The emergency room seemed like the only option, but I knew I’d be in line behind ten guys who’d cut off limbs with chain saws or OD’d on homemade meth. I opted for self treatment.

The next six hours were characterized by periods of relative calm alternating with full out panicked frenzies every time my new friend begin to back his way out of my ear canal. I don’t know how to describe the emotions triggered by knowing something is trying to crawl out of your body, but I can tell you that it concentrated my mind wonderfully, and brought to full bloom what little “man-as-tool-maker” DNA I possess.

The cottage is filled with the remnants of 50 years worth of kitchen and household implements and I adapted a number of them into the cause of locating and extracting the varmint. Many of these tools were sharper than my elbow and would not have received approval for my uses from even the Bush era FDA. You don’t want to know more I promise you. I also flushed my ear with some peroxide solution which I believe eventually drown the visitor. Finally, the beast stopped moving.

Several more hours passed in which I employed more tools and flushes, and finally around eight that evening the bugger emerged, dead but intact, stuck to the end of a Q-Tip that he matched in size. He was perfectly preserved in a waxy glaze that accentuated his prehistoric black and iridescent green exoskeleton. His big, dead, bug eyes focused everywhere and nowhere at once.

I don’t go in for blood sports, but no fisherman ever felt more pride in his catch than I in mine; no hunter every bagged a more satisfying buck. My prize was too small to stuff but I’m keeping him in a plastic sandwich bag -- forever -- unless the dreams don’t stop soon.


Hankster said...

A cotton harpoon!

Kaz said...

While masterfully written, I certainly didn't enjoy reading that. I'm beginning to think that while I always thought the Dr. was the one in our class to write the great American novel, you're moving in on him. On a more pleasant note, I'm preparing to go play Augusta North - Sugarbush!

Kaz said...

Forgot to say that maybe your calling in retirement should be to write a novel. Do that one shot masterpiece like Harper Lee!

Hankster said...

" you'll smell land and there'll be no land, and on that day, the bug will go to his grave, but he'll rise again within a few hours. He will rise and beckon!"

RSB said...

BRO, this was no accident. This was a highly technical covert operation backed by the TEA PARTY to extract demographic information from former high level publishing executives.

I know what you are thinking; they could get that information from any library. But that is a mass organizational conspiracy to educate our children funded by the U.S. government. Better to go to the ones that use the information to help promote business across America.

Be WARNED; from now on do not sleep without earplugs……..and NEVER go out in public, (esp. rural areas) without your I-pod.

Gaga said...

Good thing you had your pants on. "your prostate looks good Mr Blank, but there's a ......."

The Other D Blank said...

That made my skin crawl while reading it. Just adds to valid1ty of this website about The Animal Conspiracy.

d'blank said...

I think the comments are more entertaining than the original post.

MikeyLikesIt said...

Holy crap!
Well, at least it wasn't up your nose, where the thing could have crawled around your sinuses for hours before drowning and eventually being expectorated in a mighty spit of disgust.
See, there's always a bright side.

Woody said...

Next time a bug crawls into one of your orifices I would suggest the following. Shine a flashlight into the affected ear hoping the critter will move towards the light. If the problem gets worse (some bugs crawl away from light) turn the flashlight off. Another option is to lie down with the affected ear up so that the bug will crawl towards the light. If the above maneuvers fail, place a tablespoon of ROOM TEMPERATURE mineral oil into the ear canal and then lie down with the ear down. The oil and bug may drain out together. If you use hot or cold mineral oil you will experience extreme vertigo with vomiting so avoid that. Also do not stick anything into the ear canal, leave that to the professionals. This works for the ear, I do not advise using these methods on other orifices.

d'blank said...

I tried to call you Woody but you were on the course.