Ear Vacuum

Because I’m on Mom’s checking account, when she fractured her left Humerus last year I started paying her bills for her because she’s left-handed and couldn’t write a check.  Since then, she hasn’t shown any interest in resuming this task and seems content to let me continue to manage her finances.

One upside to this arrangement is that she hasn’t ordered anything from Publisher Clearing House in almost five months, which has probably saved her several hundred dollars based on her expenditures in previous years.  She still gets PCH mail almost daily and religiously sends in her contest entries, except now she doesn’t order a bunch of useless stuff.  Last month, however, there was something she’d had her eye on for a while and she asked me if she could order it.

“Sure, Mom,” I said.  “It’s your money.  What are you going to get?”

She held up one of the 20 or 30 flyers that were included in the PCH envelope.  “It’s this,” she said, pointing to one of the two items on the page.

“What is that?” I asked, taking the flyer from her so I could get a closer look.

“It’s an ear vacuum,” she said.  “I’m going to use it to suck the wax out of my ears.”

“And you actually believe this thing will work?”

“Sure,” she replied, with a smile.  “They wouldn’t offer it if it didn’t work.”

“Oh really,” I said.  “What about the toe separators you got from them?  How’d those work out for you?”

“They would have worked fine.  It was my toes that were the problem,” she rationalized.  “They’re just too bent to straighten out.”

That was in February.  It’s now the second week in March and the PCH box finally showed up.  I watched Mom open it with the same excitement and anticipation as a kid at Christmas.  She pulled the ‘implement’ from the box and turned it over and over, gazing at it from various angles.  It looked like a small, white plastic, hand-held drill.

“Go get two batteries, Patty,” Mom instructed as she opened the base of the ‘handle’ and stared inside.

“What size?” I asked.

“The small size,” she replied.

I returned with two AA and two AAA batteries.  It took the AAs, so I inserted them, snapped the cover closed and turned it on.  It came to life, humming with enough power to suck up a single mote of floating dust.  It was anticlimactic to say the least.  I turned it off and handed it to her.

“Let me know how it works out, Mom,” I said over my shoulder as I left the room.

“Oh I will,” she said, turning the thing on and off and on and off.  “I’ll let you try it too, after I’m done,” she called after me.

“Thanks, but no thanks,” I called back to her from the hall.  “Sharing your ear wax isn’t one of the mother-daughter bonding activities I want to take part in!”

“What?” she shouted.  “I can’t hear you.”

“Must be an ear wax problem,” I shouted.

“I know, that’s why I got this!”

That was Monday.  This is Sunday.  It’s still laying like a dead, white plastic fish on the junk cushion of her loveseat.  It’s buried amongst the un-recycled issues of Family Circle, Good Housekeeping and Redbook, along with a crossword book, the TV guide, two used tissues and her Kindle.

ear wax vacuum


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