Rick Shory

Offering a little something you might not otherwise have


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Jack-o-lantern ear candling

The jack-o-lantern fad last year was the barfing pumpkin. You know. The Jack is there with a beer can beside him. And a spew of seeds and pulp splayed out his mouth.

I thought, what can I do, one better? Hmmm… The Jack is illustrating some quaint human foible. And being as it is a carved pumpkin, that takes it to a fine state of absurdity.

The most delightfully absurd quaint human foible I could think of was ear candling. Maybe you’ve never heard of this. An ear candle is a narrow hollow cone of waxed fabric, a foot or so long. The small end is at the bottom. This end is just big enough to fit in your ear hole. It tapers out to slightly wider at the top. The idea is, you lie down on your side and your accomplice puts the small end in your ear. Then she lights the big end. As the ear candle burns, it “draws” all the bad stuff out through your ear.

You can prove it does not work. Get some dust and put it on a table. Light an ear candle at the big end, and hold the little end close to the dust. It does not suck up any of the dust.

But it must work! It’s so woo woo! If you actually go through this procedure of having this burning thing stuck in your ear, well, you have gone through an experience! You have been ceremonially changed! At least as much as by the ceremony of over indulgence in beer!

So. I hunted around to find some kind of costume ear. I finally found one at a Halloween shop, a gag item that looks like you have a string you can pull back and forth through your head.

I took it apart for the big plastic ear. I mounted an ear candle so, with the ear sideways, the candle would stick up. I got a little electrical tealight, the kind you put in your jack-o-lantern in place of an actual burning candle. I took it apart and extended the wires so the battery could go inside the pumpkin, but the light was at the upper end of the ear candle. I carved my little pumpkin so he had a surprised look on his face. His sideways look was upwards because, naturally, he had to be lying on his side to achieve the full therapeutic effect of being ear-candled.

I might have known it would not read.

Halloween fell on a Saturday. I had put it outside my office door on Thursday, in utter glee that this would be the funniest thing ever. Everybody would be so delighted. The weekend came and went. Monday came and went, with no comment. By then, the pumpkin was getting kind of soft, and collapsing in. Finally, my office mate mentioned it was kind of macabre, this jack-o-lantern, “… being stabbed in the side of the head.”

Yeah, if you have to explain your joke, it isn’t a joke. I might have known it would not read. My things never do.