Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

Earwax removal tool

When I was in Vegas, I went to a Walgreen’s across the street from the Stardust on a pretty constant basis, since bottled water cost about $87 in the hotel. I always like big drugstores because they remind me of the ones in the Midwest, like the huge Osco in the Concord Mall that has recently vanished (along with everything else in the mall.) New York drug stores suck; they have almost no selection in the medical-oriented things, and no variety in the non-medical stuff. I bet you could buy a snowblower at a CVS or Hook’s back in Indiana, whereas you might have to go to seven different places to find a 4×4-inch bandage and some gauze in Manhattan. (And when you do, it will cost more than an emergency room visit.) It’s the same gripe about lack of real estate, cost of real estate, and the fact that we don’t have a Target in Manhattan and that would make my life much better, even though all of you in the Midwest are saying, “why would he want a Target? They suck ass.”

Anyway, I was in this Walgreen’s, and saw something I’d never seen before: an earwax removal tool. It looked like a little plastic plunger, except it had a ring on the end of it. The idea was that you shoved it in your ear and scraped out a thing of wax, and it wouldn’t push the wax further back because of the shape, or something. Since I have constant ear problems, I bought this thing, ran back to the hotel (okay, I didn’t RUN) and jammed it into my ear, carefully following the instructions to make sure that it didn’t puncture my eardrum. After all of this anticipation, it removed a piece of wax about as big as the amount of wax a crayon leaves on a piece of paper when writing a period or comma. I felt ripped off, expecting it to remove something about as big as a BB, or maybe a small kidney bean. No dice.

At first, I thought that this was just another ripoff from the health and beauty industry, like magnet-point shoe inserts, anything with the word “Igea” in it, or the ab-exercise belt. But later, I thought that maybe this was some kind of pea-under-seven-mattresses sort of perception problem. Maybe the “huge” amount of wax in my ear that bothered me was just microscopic. Maybe this was like some larger metaphor for my life, and all of the things bothering me – money, acceptance, dating, writing – were all microscopic bits of wax that weren’t that big of a deal.

Okay, this is getting stupid. I shouldn’t come up with journal ideas on the subway anymore.