Sunday, December 4, 2016

Fun with Ears

This is not a New Thing. This is the story of a Once New Thing Rediscovered. It’s what happens when six women get together in a cabin for three days and an idea happens and it begins snowballing, and next thing you know: six women are lying on the floor with ear candles in their ears.

Human birthday cakes.

Somehow the subject of ear candles came up. Who knows how these things happen. One minute you’re discussing recipes and the next minute you’re on to ear candles. Some of us had prior experience and some of us hadn’t. Sarah wasn’t at the cabin yet so after Googling “ear candle store,” she got the message: “Stop at All About Herbs and get enough ear candles for all of us.” It could have been more bizarre. The text could have said, “Stop at hardware store and get enough WD-40 for all of us.” Or “Stop at pharmacy and get enough Q-tips for all of us.” The imagination runs wild.

No, an ear candle is not a fancy candle shaped like an ear, nor is it a regular old candle you stick in your ear. It’s a hollow candle about a foot long, tapered at the end (the stick-it-in-your-ear end). The candle is put through a hole in a paper plate for safety reasons. Ditto for the bowl of water kept nearby. Then the subject lies on her side, the candle is stuck in her ear, and the health care non-professional lights the end.
A roaring flame shoots up. The human birthday cake subject (hereinafter referred to as H.B.C.) lies there for about 15 minutes listening to the gurgling, hissing, and crackling noises in her ear. A long black ash forms as the candle burns down. Ultimately, the health care non-professional will remove the candle, cut off the burning tip and ash, and aim it to fall into the bowl of water.

Then the excitement builds as the H.B.C. slowly unravels the candle to expose the gloppy, crusty, mustard-colored crud that has accumulated at the tip. Everyone gathers around to marvel at the quantity, texture, and volume; comparing notes; exclaiming over the variation in secretions from their friends’ orifices.

I kid you not. I think it was part of the general derangement.

We think the candle works because the flame creates negative pressure which draws the wax out of the ear. But some skepticism remained: was this really earwax or was it candle wax? One of us is buying another candle to burn ear-lessly to test the question. But the testimonies of improved hearing, eradicated tinnitus, and general head-clearing kept everyone enthralled. We were so excited, four of us had to listen to one iPhone podcast talking us down 20 steps of cotton balls so we could peacefully slide off to sleep. (Not exactly sure of the 20 steps since accounts differ depending on sleep onset and extent of derangement. There was some concern that the ear candles had drained some brains out with the earwax.)

Now, of course, the weekend is over, and one of us has an earache. This is not really a complaint, she’s not in excruciating pain and she can hear really well; she can hear her clock ticking from across the room!

But it sent me to Wikipedia, which reported on a research study:
“…ear candling does not produce negative pressure and was ineffective in removing wax from the ear canal. Several studies have shown that ear candles produce the same residue when burnt without ear insertion and that the residue is simply candle wax and soot.
     As of 2008, there are at least two cases in which people have set their houses on fire while ear candling, one of which resulted in death.
     The inescapable conclusion is that ear candles do more harm than good.”
What a bunch of killjoys! They don’t even let on how much fun candle wax and soot can be. And I bet the ones who burnt down their houses weren’t using the safety precautions of paper plates and bowls of water. We women in our Third Thirds, we know better.

1 comment:

  1. OMG....I'm just laughing so hard here in bed that it's shaking the entire bed! Can't tell you how much fun it is to have a third third slumber party+ we didn't burn the place down��!


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