Ear wax for Candy
Ear wax may be good for some things*, but it doesn't provide the most fertile ground for humor. Four times a day, sometimes more, I'll be cleaning someone's ear and the patient or his spouse will say, "Ooh, can you see through to the other side?" Gawd, I hate that joke. It ranks right up there with "Huh?" in response to, "How's your hearing?" However, I do have one good ear story, which I dedicate to the lovely Candy for thinking of me today, even if you don't think enough of me to enter Kate's contest. Grumble. In college, I racked up enough credits to take time off for an internship. I thought I wanted to be a chemist, so I opted for a six month organic chemistry fellowship at Stauffer Chemical Company in Richmond, California. Stauffer manufactured herbicides. Most likely corporate mission statement: Stauffer. We take all the lovely green things in the world and kill them. The State of California owns that place now; it's part of the Department of Toxic Substances Control. Ironic, eh? One of the PhD chemists was a grizzly old man who would have made a damned good Scrooge. This guy was filthy -- physically, morally, and spiritually filthy. Why, he was so filthy the Mitchell Brothers gave the guy an honorary chair at their theater. With his name on it. In gold lettering. It's what you would call a well endowed chair. I suppose he might have landed himself in a world of trouble for sexual harassment, but the women he worked with didn't take him seriously. A day or two in his presence and you became calloused to his bottomless pit of linguistic ooze. Even Maria, a sweet Catholic woman in her late 20s, tended to smile at his profane stories and look the other way. One day, he launched into some weird diatribe about one of the new Vietnamese PhDs down at the chemical engineering end of the building. He had seen shoe-prints on the toilet seat -- that's what set him off -- and, yes, you can add racism to his list of sins. After the thirtieth or fortieth "fuckin' this fuckin' that," Maria said, "Oh! My virgin ears." To which our hero replied, "Wassamatter? Ain't you never got it in your ear before?" See, Candy? You never can tell what will jog my memory. D. *True fact: some heroin addicts use ear wax to grease their syringes. Now, that's American ingenuity in action!