Charlie Huston

Six Bad Things

mom and dad


DECEMBER 4-11, 2003

Four Regular Season Games Remaining

I’M SITTING on the porch of a bungalow on the Yucatan Peninsula with lit cigarettes sticking out of both my ears.

I like to go swimming in the mornings. When I first came to Mexico I liked to go drinking in the mornings, but after I got over that I took up swimming and I discovered something. I have unusually narrow ear canals. Go figure. I discovered this while I was trying to sober up, paddling around in the lukewarm morning waters, and found that my ears were clogged. I tilted my head from side to side and banged on my skull, trying to dislodge the water, but no luck. I plugged my nose, clamped my mouth shut, and blew until it felt like my brain might pop out of my ass. No good. I crammed Q-tips up my ears, prodding at the blockage. That’s when things got really bad. For a few days I walked around half-deaf, feeling like my entire head was packed with waterlogged cotton. Then I went to a doctor. I have a habit of saving doctors for a last resort.

Dr. Sanchez looked in my ears and informed me of the tragic news: unusually narrow ear canals. The water was trapped deep inside and my irresponsible Q-tip use had sealed it in with earwax. He loaded a syringe the size of a beer can with warm mineral water and injected it into my ears until the pressure dislodged the massive clogs of wax and washed them into the small plastic basins I held just below my ears. He gave me drops. He told me never to stick anything in my ear other than my elbow, and laughed at his own joke. He nodded sagely and told me the solution to my problem was quite simple: When my ears became clogged, I must stick a cigarette into each one and light them. The cigarettes, that is. Then he handed me a pack of Benson & Hedges, told me they were his preferred brand for the task, and charged me a thousand pesos.

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