Ear wax? Really? | Bleader

Ear wax? Really?



When I was an undergrad at the University of Iowa in the 80s, the Iowa Writers' Workshop was kind of a big deal. So I was flattered to be—set up with? asked out by? can't remember—a guy in the graduate fiction workshop. We'd arranged to see Bernard Tavernier's 'Round Midnight at the Bijou, the campus movie theater, and so found ourselves walking down the long hill to the student union one summer evening. Making small talk, I asked him what he'd been up to, and he told me he'd been to the doctor that day to get his ears cleaned—he had a problem with excessive wax buildup.

He proceeded to give a detailed explanation of the process of ear-wax removal. At the end, he said, his doctor used a tuning fork to test his hearing. I'm the dick here—I had a vision of a white-jacketed Harpo Marx-type doinging a tuning fork outside his ears, and laughed. He seemed rather offended, despite my explanation and apology.

'Round Midnight felt a lot longer than its 133-minute running time. Then the workshopper walked me back up the hill and home. When we got there, I invited him in for coffee. He accepted, but once we were in the kitchen and I started making it, he said surlily, "Wait, you're really making coffee?" Then he grabbed me, pushed me against the wall, and started mauling me. Had the ear wax affected his brain, a la H.P. Lovecraft?

I shoved him away and asked him to leave, and he did. My regret: I didn't knee him in the balls.