Semi-recently I wrote an entry titled, “The Man With a Booger in His Ear.” Writing that story made me reflect on anything and everything ear-related. That was the inspiration for this post.
So I purchased some JVC marshmallow earphones. JVC marshmallow earphones were designed to fit perfectly in your ears. They act like earplugs. First you pinch them then you slide them into your ears. While inside your ear, the earphones expand to the shape of your ear, where they stay. They have a hole on the end of them where the sound waves go through.
This is the only type of earphones that I can successfully wear due to having cauliflower ear in my left ear. For those of you who don’t know, I wrestled from the age of 6 until I was a junior in college. I got cauliflower ear in wrestling practice my freshman year of college. It is a condition that causes a swelling and deformation of the ears that resembles a cauliflower hence the name, “cauliflower ear.” It is common for athletes to get cauliflower ear, but it is most prevalent in wrestlers, boxers and MMA fighters.
Cauliflower ear can form on any part of your ear, but is most commonly found either on the outer ridge of the ear or outside of the ear canal. They both have their own unique ways of being a pain in the ass. If you have cauliflower ear on the outer ridge of your ear, it is more noticeable. Not to mention, whenever someone notices this glitch on your ear, their “dumbass detector” is more likely to go off. If you have cauliflower ear outside of your ear canal, it is less noticeable, but you don’t have the luxury of wearing earphones when you want to listen to music in silence. Before the wonderful JVC marshmallow earphones came out, your options were basically narrowed down to the headphones with the black foam pads that make you appear as if you are straight outta the 80’s/90’s or the big ass, padded headphones that give you the “I spend a lot of time in the studio” look.
I have cauliflower outside of my ear canal. Which has inevitably limited my earphone selection and led to me coming off as an out of style dork in the past. This was especially notable in the weight room in college.
Ya see, I went to an expensive private college called Loras College in Dubuque, IA. Why did I choose to go there? I really don’t know. The population at Loras seemingly consisted of 75% rich, spoiled Chicaburbians (from the suburbs of Chicago.) These types of people liked portray an image of themselves as being “harder” than they actually were because they were from Chicago. Not to mention, anything significant you mentioned about your life, hometown, personal experiences, etc., Chicaburbians always had you beat in some way or another. You couldn’t even make a comment about how good the corn was in in Iowa (Iowa is known for it’s good corn) without them mentioning some little shop in Chicago that sold corn that was way better than the corn in Iowa (as if we Iowans eat all our corn…jackasses.) They literally wouldn’t give a non-Chicaburbian’s opinion the time of day. The remaining 25% of students at Loras were from various parts of Wisconsin, Illinois or Iowa like myself.
Note: My description of Chicaburbians is the epitome of a generalization. I did meet and become friends with a few Chicaburbians while attending Loras College.
Chicaburbians always had the coolest stuff. This was especially noticeable in the weight room. In the weight room, Chicaburbian’s would prance around with their Ipods (this is when they first came out) and a stupid little strap on their arm that they placed their little Ipods into, topped off with some snazzy looking earphones. Also, heaven forbid they be caught dead wearing any athletic apparel that wasn’t Under Armour brand. I, on the other hand would usually be sporting some cheap grey sweatpants from Wal-Mart and a cut-off wrestling tee-shirt. To top the outfit off, I would be carrying around a Discman with a pair of headphones. I used the bulky, studio-friendly headphones. Although I looked like a geek, the sound quality was great. I didn’t have a stupid little strap on my arm to place my Discman in, so I put it in my sweatpants pocket. That Discman used to bulge out of my pocket. I appeared as if I was stealing a 5 pound weight plate from the room. Compared to these Chicaburbians, I looked like such a loser and felt like one too because the girls who frequented the weight room were generally pretty hot. However, I didn’t feel so bad after adding 4 plates to anything these pansies would be working out with. These Chicaburbians may have looked cool, but it definitely didn’t make them stronger. There would be many occasions where I would approach someone who was sitting down on a benchpress bench and ask, “hey, you done with that?” (Thinking to myself, “you done doing bench press reps with that whopping 135 pounds….wussy? That fancy Ipod on your arm must be pretty fucking heavy for you to be publicly showing everyone in the weight room how weak you are.”) They would say, “yeah” and I would add 4 plates to the bar and bust out 3 sets of 6 reps of 275 pounds. After busting out weight reps with heavy weights, I would storm through the weight room with a mean expression on my face, thinking to myself, “you can look at me and my Discman with smug expressions on your faces, but you little pecker heads better not say a damn thing.”
Maybe I was just jealous.
The most embarrassing part of my weight room get-up was definitely the bulky headphones I had to wear. Although the sound quality was great, I didn’t like sporting the “guy in Wal-Mart sweatpants and cut-off tee-shirt who was listening to a Discman in the weight room after he got out of the studio” look. I could afford a nice pair of earphones, but the stupid things wouldn’t stay in my ear because my cauliflower ear would block it from doing so. The regular black-padded head phones were also a pain in the ass because I have a large head…so those didn’t stay on my head well either. The studio headphones fit me the best and were more adjustable for comfort. And like I mentioned twice already, the sound quality was excellent. This was an ongoing thing until I invested in these perfect JVC marshmallow earphones.
It sounds ridiculous, but I am pretty protective of my marshmallow earphones. It’s like a luxury I never dreamed of having has become a reality. Finally, some earphones that will stay in my ear. I also have an Ipod Touch (that has the words, “Joshua Swafford Love Mom and Dad” engraved on it) to go along with them. With that said, it should be pretty easy to figure out why I was a little hesitant when one of my close relatives who chose to remain nameless (lets just pretend his name is Raybob) asked me if he could use my marshmallow earphones to listen to some youtube videos on the computer. At first I turned him down. I abrasively said, “why don’t you find some other earphones around here.” He said he couldn’t find any and with a sincere expression on his face he asked if he could use them again. I gave in and told him that he could use them, but he had to be careful because these earphones are God’s greatest gift to my ears.
Approximately 2 hours later, I decided to check in on my earphones. I had to make sure my precious JVC marshmallow earphones were still in tact. I put the earphones in my ears and played a song from my Ipod and I couldn’t hear anything. I cranked the volume up and still nothing. Complete silence. I was instantly infuriated. I yelled, “RAYBOB, GET OVER HERE NOW!!!” He tip-toed into the room with an intimidated expression on his face. I screamed at him, “I LET YOU BORROW MY GOD DAMN JVC EARPHONES JUST ONCE AND YOU MANAGE TO ALREADY BREAK THEM?! WHAT THE HELL DID YOU DO TO THEM?!?! DAMMIT, THESE ARE THE BEST EARPHONES IN THE WORLD!!!!” He stuttered, “d-dude. I-I-I don’t know wh-wh-what is wrong with them. I-I o-only h-h-had them in for a m-m-minute and I c-couldn’t get them to work.” I screamed again, “DUDE, YOU HAD TO HAVE DONE SOMETHING!!! THEY WERE WORKING PERFECTLY SECONDS BEFORE I LET YOU USE THEM!!!” He insisted that he wasn’t lying to me and that he had no idea what was wrong with them.
I decided to look a little closer at the earphones. What I discovered astounded me. The earphones were CAKED with ear wax. The hole where the sound waves go through was completely clogged. It appeared as if someone had taken a greasy shit and then alternated both earphones as ass-plugs. I was pissed off to the point where I felt like I had a boiling tea kettle in my head. I had to leave the room.
Eventually I calmed myself down enough to come back to the living room to talk to Raybob about the seriousness of the situation. “Raybobbbb,” I said quietly. He replied with, “y-yeah?” I asked, “when was the last time you cleaned your ears?” He said, “umm I d-don’t know. Why?” I couldn’t control my hostility anymore when I shouted, “BECAUSE MY FREAKING EARPHONES ARE CLOGGED WITH YOUR EAR WAX!!!! Let me ask you again, WHEN was the LAST time you cleaned YOUR EARS?!?!?” “Uhhh….ummm….uhhhhh a couple months ago I think.” Dumbfounded, I asked, “you mean to tell me that you don’t clean your ears every day? In fact, you haven’t cleaned your ears in MONTHS?!” “Y-yeah,” he said. I concluded with, “well Raybob, I want to make it clear that from now on, whatever I use for my ears, does not go in your ears. Also, I would like to encourage you to start cleaning your ears with a Q-tip every morning when you wake up. The wax in my earphones is a poopy brown color. It looks like ass-cheese and it came from YOUR ears. This means that anyone who looks at your ears, probably notices a brown frosting-looking substance that resembles ass-cheese. You don’t want your peers nicknaming you Mr. Ass-Cheese Ears do you?” “No,” he said. “Ok, so clean your ears every day and that won’t happen. Please don’t ever let your ears get out of hand like that again.” “I promise I won’t,” he said. “Alright buddy, now clean my earphones. They better be spic and span the next time I see them.” I said.
He actually did a great job cleaning them. I don’t know what he did, but it worked. I thought it would take the tiniest drill bit in the world to get through the wax that clogged my precious JVC marshmallow earphones.
The thought of Raybob not cleaning his ears for months put me in a state of utter confusion. Cleaning my ears is something I like to do. It has always been the highlight of my morning routine. It feels good….as if you are scratching an itch that has needed to be scratched for so long that you no longer notice it being there. I remember asking my mom when I was 8 years old, “hey mom, why does it feel good to clean your ears.” She replied with , “I don’t know, but I agree, it does feel awesome. I call those sensations ‘eargasms.'” From that point on, I referred to the pleasure I experienced while cleaning my ears as, “eargasms.” I wonder how many double-takes adults did over the years when they witnessed me moaning in pleasure while I cleaned my ears, simultaneously explaining to them that I was having an “eargasm.”
Along with the pleasurable sensation of cleaning my ears, I also used to think it was fun. It felt like digging for treasure. The fact that I cleaned my ears frequently, meant that I have always had clean ears which added a sense of reality to the “digging for treasure” comparison. It was a rare occasion for me to actually dig up something in my ears that wasn’t white in color.
So my question for anyone still reading is this; “how often do you clean your ears?” I clean mine any time I think of doing so, which is at least daily. How about you?