A few months ago, I was having a problem with my ear. It sounded like I was locked in the toilet on a 747 flying from LAX to JFK during a thunderstorm. Ringing, hissing, pulsing.
At first, I thought it might be a sinus infection or congestion from a cold, but then it occurred to me the Jimi Hendrix concert in 1969 may have been to blame or possibly the Buddy Miles concert in 1972, when I was in the front row and had to put pieces of handkerchief in my ears because the music was so deafening. Let that be a lesson to young people everywhere — always carry ear plugs … or a handkerchief and scissors.
Actually, the only time I used earplugs was on a trip to Chicago when a wedding party took up the hotel rooms on my floor and proceeded to go crazy, celebrating all night long. The next day, they looked like the cast of “Hangover 2,” which made for great wedding photos, I’m sure.
I tried to convince my wife the ringing was from too much yard work, because leaf blowers and lawn mowers can be just as bad as heavy metal music for your ears, but she didn’t believe me.
Anyway, I scheduled an appointment with an ear, nose and throat doctor, otherwise known as an otolaryngologist (pronounced obi-wan kenobi), which is Latin for “fellow who looks in your nose and ears with a flashlight.” Women ENT doctors are called “otolaryngologistas,” and they treat all those “itis” conditions like rhinitis, tinnitus, sinusitis, tonsillitis, laryngitis and gastritis — well, maybe not that one.
My wife insisted I had to prepare for the appointment. Since I’d be getting a thorough examination of my ears, nose and throat, I had to make sure those cavities and any others were immaculate, so I went to Walmart and bought a box of Q-tips and a nose&ear wet/dry trimmer that set me back $25. For $45, I could have gotten the top-of-the-line model, which lets you take selfies while you’re cutting nose hair and send the photos directly to your Instagram account.
Does everyone trim their hairs when they have a doctor’s appointment? My daughters said it was an absolute necessity. They should know, because they’re always checking out other people’s eyebrows and noses, mine included, to see if they require emergency intervention.
A typical conversation:
Daughter 1: She really needs to do something with those eyebrows.
Daughter 2: Loan her your tweezers.
Daughter 3: Did you see that fellow’s nose hair? It looked like the Amazon rainforest during the rainy season.
Daughter 4: It’s a fire hazard.
This must be a Millennial Generation obsession. My generation was taught it’s impolite to look in someone else’s body cavities. However, I do know a few guys whose ear hair resembles broccoli sprouts and could benefit from a good trimming with grass clippers.
And there’s nothing more disturbing than having gobs of wax in your ears when you go to the doctor … or on a date. However, you don’t want your primary care physician to know you used a Q-tip or he’ll lecture you for 15 minutes and tell you that under no circumstances should you put a Q-tip in your ears. According to strict AMA regulations, Q-tips should only be put up your nose or in your mouth.
To complete my personal hygiene, I decided to trim my eyebrows, which were getting a little bushy. I tried styling them with my clipper, but they came out looking like the McDonald’s golden arches, so I had to touch them up with my wife’s eyeliner. I also shaved my neck (but not my legs or chest). For the most part, there were no unsightly hairs on my body. Mission accomplished.
After a thorough exam, the doctor concluded it wasn’t a sinus infection, so Hendrix and yard work must have caused my problem. The next day, I went back to Walmart and invested in a pair of earplugs.
As I was leaving the doctor’s office, I considered peeking in his ears but then got control of myself … and decided it was safer to check out the nurse’s eyebrows. Unfortunately, she caught me looking. I’ll never do that again.
Joe Pisani can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org