My eardrum has been vibrating for the last few days. It's been driving me nuts. At first I worried that a beetle or other winged creature was flying around in there (before you get grossed out and poo poo my overactive imagination, let me tell you that a beetle took up residence in my friend’s ear in sixth grade and I will never, ever forget it).
Alas, nothing has flown out of my head.
So I made an appointment with a local ear, nose and throat doctor.
The office was located in a brittle house with creaky, tilted floors. When I got there, there were two nuns sitting in the waiting room. Whenever I see nuns I feel compelled to make some kind of statement to let them know I am an upstanding individual. So while I waited, I had this running through my head:
“God bless, sisters. No, no, don’t say that. How about, ‘Lovely mass on Sunday. Praise Jesus.’ No, that’s stupid…”
Thankfully, the receptionist called me in.
Let me tell you something, the newspapers have it all wrong. Walter Breuning is not the oldest living man in the United States. ENT Doc Crochety of Mulletville is. He was wearing one of these:
(From what I can tell, they’re used to reflect light towards the patient and fell out of fashion when flashlights were invented.)
While the doc lifted the sagging flesh from his inner thighs so he could sit down and cross his legs, I told him about my vibration problem. He sloooooooowly grabbed his ear looker thinger and stuck it in my ear. Then he shouted, “Jesus Christ, it’s like the Sahara in there!”
I have to admit, I was intrigued at the thought of a desert ecosystem existing between my eyeballs. It certainly explains the sand I’ve been finding on my pillow.
“How many Q-tips do you use?” he barked.
“None,” I lied. “But I chew a lot of gum.” (I have no idea why I said this, but you know what? He wasn't listening to me one bit.)
“Are you a secretary?”
“I was until my Dictaphone broke.”
“I’m going to whisper in your ear while I flutter a stack of post-it notes in your other ear. Ready? Whisperwhisperwhisperwhisper.”
“You’re one-hundred and ninety-nine?”
He took a metal hook with a cap and stuck it into my nostril.
“Your nose tissue is inflamed.”
“Is that because of the camels?”
He told me to say “ah” then hit the back of my throat with what looked like a golf club he’d stolen from a doll house. Then he sat back and shook his head.
“I’m prescribing you drops. Ask your fellow to help you. When you bathe, let some water into your ear. And lay off the Goddamn Q-tips.”
“I’m just curious. Do you blaspheme like this in front of the nuns?”
“Call in two weeks if you’re still having problems. Irene will ring you out.”
As Irene the receptionist took my co-pay, I said a little prayer that the desert nomads would take well to the drops because I really, really don’t want to go back to Doc Crochety (he's obviously in cahoots with Dental Dick). I looked at the nuns for a sign that they were receiving my telepathic cry for mercy, but they were too busy reading about Salma Hayek's second wedding in Italy.
I don't know if I can kick my Q-tip habit, but I'm sure as hell going to try.