How’s That Again?


The 8th of December is my Mother’s birthday.

It’s also “Take it in the Ear Day”.

The people who follow such observances say they can find no reason we’re supposed to “take it in the ear” on the day after Pearl Harbor Day.

“Take what?” I might ask.

“And, why in the ear?”

“In December.”

Greek philosopher Epictetus said, “We have 2 ears and one mouth so we can listen twice as much as we speak.”

Who knows.

That might be the key to a good life.

The sense of sound (hearing) is one of the five senses of the human body.

The others are sight, smell, taste and touch.

It would also be nice if we all had a “common” sense, but that’s another matter.

But for the purposes of this discussion, “Friends, Romans countrymen…Lend me your ears!” from Marc Antony’s speech in the Shakespeare play, “Julius Caesar”.

Our ears are pretty neat devices.

Our ears have three main areas; external, middle and inner.

Of the 206 bones in a human body, there are three in your ear.

There’s the stapes (stirrup, anvil and hammer), the incus and the malleus.

They’d all fit on a penny.

The stirrup is the smallest of all our bones and the temporal is the hardest.

Your ears are hairy; there are more than 20,000 hairs in there.

I swear if men could get the hair on the tops of their heads to grow like the hair in my ears, we could end baldness.

Those inner hairs send electrical impulses when they’re stimulated by soundwaves.

The internal portion of the ear is narrow and tiny.

It’s about as wide as a pencil eraser but don’t be jamming that #2 writing device in your ear, okay?

The innermost part of the ear contains the cochlea which is about the size of a pea and resembles a snail shell.

The eardrum is less than .7 inches wide.

Miniaturization is the key with the inner workings of our ears.

We can hear soundwaves from 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz.

But ears do more than hold our glasses on our heads or provide a target for earmuffs to keep warm.

Thanks to the Eustachian tube which connects to the back of our nose, ears are responsible for our sense of balance.

They can also affect our sense of taste.

Don’t need Q-Tips because ears are self-cleaning.

The ear wax, or cerumen, is worked into the ear by those hairs and there are pores that gather up the excess and move it away.

Most of the time.

That ear wax protects our ears from dust and dirt.

However, I’m reminded of a Rich Hall “Sniglet” when it comes to ear wax and Q-tips.

Rich was on the 1980’s HBO show “Not Necessarily the News” and he wrote several books based on “sniglets”.

A sniglet is any word that doesn’t appear in a dictionary…but should.

For example, “Chwads” was discarded gum found beneath tables and countertops.

(Grape-flavored, right, Jerry?)

“Aquadextrous” was when you possess the ability to turn off the bathtub faucet with your toes.

Rich said “eargasm” was that delightful feeling you get when cleaning your ears with a Q-tip.

Didn’t someone tell me years ago, “Nothing smaller than your elbow in your ear.”

Try that act of contortion, will you?

The skin inside our ears in constantly growing and being shed to the tune of 1.3 inches a year.

Exposing your ears to 120 decibels can leave permanent hearing damage in a little more than 7 minutes.

What’s 120 decibels?

A rock concert or a sporting event crowd.

A lawnmower is 90 decibels.

Typical conversation is 60 decibels.

(What about yelling to someone while mowing the lawn?)

Decibels, by the way, were named after Alexander Graham Bell.

There was a survey taken of the 10 most-unpleasant noises or sounds.

A knife scraping against a bottle.

A fork scratching on a dinner plate.

Chalk on a blackboard.

Rubbing a ruler on a bottle.

Fingernails on a blackboard.

A baby crying.

An electric drill.

Rusty swingset chains.

A person retching.

Two pieces of stretched polystyrene rubbing together.

By the way, we hear music better on our left side and the right ear is more responsive to speech.

But what about the part of the ear we see?

Men’s ears are generally larger than women’s and the typical ear is 2.5 inches long.

Ears never stop growing, either.


I’m going to look like Dumbo in a few years.

Our ears are as unique as our fingerprints, too.

So, watch it when you press your ears against a door or window to eavesdrop. You could be leaving a clue.

Some folks have waxed poetic and philosophic regarding those hearing devices on the sides of our heads.

“”For it was not into my EAR you whispered, but into my heart. It was not my lips you kissed, but my heart.” (Judy Garland)

“The EAR is the only true writer and the only true reader.” (Robert Frost)

“Choose a wife rather by your EAR than your eye.” (Thomas Fuller)

So, if you decide to “Take it in the Ear” next December 8th, you’re fooling with some pretty fancy equipment.

At least that’s what I hear.

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