Wax On, Wax Off 

I came in from the shops the other day.

‘I got you something,’ I said to my husband. ‘You won’t like it.’

‘What is it?’ He asked.

‘This,’ I said, producing a small blue and white box. ‘I bought it at the chemist. It is for your ears.’

There comes a time in every man’s life when his body starts to let him down. Some men lose the hair on their head. Nearly all of them start to grow extra hair from their ears. But it was not ear hair I was worried about, it was wax.

Maybe it was rewatching the film Paddington the other weekend which features a sequence with Paddington using the bathroom  at the Brown’s house to disastrous effect. Among a number of things he does is avail himself of some handy ‘ear brushes’ he finds and later expresses surprise when he finds Mr Brown using them to clean his teeth.

When I was a kid, I remember it as being practically compulsory for middle aged men to go and get their ears syringed, but you don’t hear about it much in Australia. Maybe it is the heat, or maybe Australian men enjoy being partially deaf so they can yell louder at the footy, I don’t know. In any case, I was inspired by an anecdote I had heard on a film review podcast told by the film critic about his ears being clogged up and him buying something from the chemist which had crackled like space dust when he put it in and it cleared his ears out a treat.

‘Just what my husband needs,’ I thought and enquired at the chemist the following week, hence the purchase.

‘So you are telling me,’ he said, ‘that you are going to pour that stuff into my ear because of something you heard a film critic say?’

‘Yes,’ I said. ‘No… kind of. It is not the same stuff. It does not go snap, crackle and pop but the chemist said it was very good and would get any gunk out.’

‘Maybe I don’t have any gunk,’ he said.

‘You are a man of a certain age,’ I reminded him. You are bound to have gunk.’

And so it was last night as he lay in bed that I performed my terrible deed. I gently squeezed the rubber teat at the top of the bottle top to fill the dropper, then hovered it over his ear and let a few drops fall down the tiny hole. 

My husband started screaming.

‘What is the matter?’ I asked.

‘Just kidding,’ he said. 

Did I mention he is a funny guy? 

I put the drops in his ears then plugged them with cotton wool and we prepared to wait until morning to see just what the effect was. If nothing else, he got a good night’s sleep because his ears were full of wadding and he didn’t get woken up by the dogs, my alarm, the garage door opening and closing as I took them for a walk, or the sound of me getting ready for work the next day. 

It was with a certain air of triumph that he produced the cotton wads for my inspection this afternoon when I came home. There was a little wax on them, alright but nothing like the marmalade deluge I had been expecting.

‘See?’ he said. ‘Nothing wrong with my ears. He looked very pleased with himself. He is quite competitive.

What he did not realise at the time of all this gloating, though is that I was looking at the instructions again this morning and it said that the treatment had to be done over two consecutive nights. The first night loosens the wax, the second releases it and that this time I need to fill his ears with fluid.

He should be grateful. Not every man has a wife that would do this for her husband, but then again perhaps not every wife gets her medical advice from a movie review show, either.


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