Here’s something I bet you didn’t know about me: I have over-clean ears.
My ears are too clean. You could eat off that shit. I actually didn’t know that about myself either until yesterday, when the doctor at the walk-in clinic told me so.
“Do you use Q-tips?” she asked, cluck-clucking as she peered into my pristine ear canals. If, that is, one’s ear canals can be both pristine and infected, which mine are. Yup. Both of them, along with my sinuses, which means that inclining my head even slightly downward causes all the ball bearings rattling around my skull to slam mercilessly into all the nerves that also reside there. It’s fun. Fun enough to have me brave the walk-in clinic two days before New Year’s, and now contemplate quitting my Q-tip habit.
Because, yes, I do use Q-tips. I love Q-tips. I would take Q-tips to a desert island. I love them even though I know they are bad for me. I love them even though I am well aware of the recommendation that one should put nothing larger in one's ear than one's elbow. There’s just something about the feeling of a Q-tip in your ear. You know what I’m talking about — that scratchy cotton, the way it absorbs any last little bit of moisture, the way Q-tips scratch the itches deep inside. It’s a vicious cycle: I suffer from chronic ear infections, which means that my ears often feel itchy, which means that I reach for the Q-tips, which, apparently, introduce all kinds of new bacteria into my ears — and, by extension, my sinuses — while at the same time denuding them of any of the protective benefits of earwax, and so it goes.
Anyway, I had all kinds of half-formed New Year’s resolutions floating around, but nothing really meaty to resolve. And now, I think I have my answer: in 2014, I will kick my Q-tip habit. It’s going to be hard, especially since nothing else in my life can currently be described as “over-clean.” You heard it here first (ha ha): in 2014, I aspire to have only acceptably clean ears.
Wish me luck. And send me things to do with my hands.