February 29, 2008
I have small ears. I know that’s a weird thing to say, especially since I had a friend back in grammar school who was very self-conscious about his big ears. At least he thought they were big. I never noticed them until he mentioned them, but I could sympathize because I was self-conscious about my big lips. This was years before Hollywood actresses started spending thousands of dollars to have fat taken out of their thighs and injected into their lips so they could go around looking like the incredible Mr.. Limpet–a trend which, unfortunately, hasn’t helped me any. I’ve got the lips, but if I wanted to be a Hollywood actress that would take much more extensive and even more expensive surgery. But I digress. I know I have small ears because I have a portable music device and the earphones pop out of my ears a lot, especially in cold weather when my ears just seem to tighten up even more. Okay, maybe it’s not, strictly speaking, my ears, but the ear-holes. Is there a special name for those? I know there’s an inner ear with three little bones named Shadrak, Meshak, and Abendigo, and that thing that looks like a snail which is called a "cochlea", from the Latin meaning "thing in your ear that looks like a snail". I know there’s an ear-drum. And the things that I used to listen to my music are called "ear buds", which I think is the worst name anybody ever came up with. We had ear buds when I was a kid, you know, and when we did our mothers would grab us and put our heads in a vise and dig around in our ears with cotton swabs until a lot of brown gunk came out. And if they’re really buds as in buddies they’d stay in my ears instead of popping out all the time. If they’re ear buddies maybe they could call them ear chums, although that’s even worse because chum is what you feed sharks. That’s because if you’re with your chum and you see a shark coming, you want the shark to take him and not you.
But I digress. The worst thing about my earphones is that I was exercising recently and some sweat got in one of them and shorted it out so only one of them works now. I’m sure there are some techno-nerds out there who will tell you that this couldn’t possibly happen, but then they’re the same guys who will tell you that when you get that, "Do you want to send an error report?" prompt on your computer it goes to someone who actually cares. And they’d probably also add a variation of the standard computer programmer’s "why would you want to do that?" when you ask if a computer program could do something different (for instance, if you’d like a word processing program to allow you to write letters). They’d probably say, "Why would you want to exercise and listen to music at the same time?" I might be able to stump them by calling it "multi-tasking", but what I’d really like to know is whether anyone else is having this same problem. I’m pretty sure it must be common because these earphones are "one size fits all", a phrase which most people don’t realize is standardly truncated. The full phrase is "one size fits all people except you." Maybe we’re all suffering with this problem and no one’s really caught on yet. Maybe it will become apparent in a few years when Hollywood fashions change and actresses start having special surgery to have skin taken off the soles of their feet and used to enlarge their ears. If that happens I’ll look up that old friend of mine and ask him how it’s working out for him–and if he’s given any thought to becoming a Hollywood actress.