Q-tips: the crack of the hygiene world.
Sticking a Q-tip in your ear buzzes synapses like being kissed on the back of the neck. Except being kissed on the back of the neck is perfectly good for you, as long as you are not being kissed by someone else’s wife.
Something is probably bad for you if you can’t stop yourself from moaning while you do it. When I pet dogs I sometimes wiggle my knuckle under their ear flap, and they moan the same way. I wouldn’t stick a Q-tip in a dog’s ear, though, because their brains are so small I’m afraid I’d clean them right out.
Q-tips don’t clean your ear very well. I looked up a medical website so I would know what I was talking about, and they said you shouldn’t remove cerumen from your ears. I think cerumen was one of the things the Wise Men gave baby Jesus. If a Wise Man pulled it out of his ear, he was probably just trying to make Jesus laugh, like when my Uncle Milton once pulled a penny out of my ear.
Removing the wax dries out your ear and makes it itch, so you grab for another Q-tip. It’s crack, I tell you. Soon you’re alone under a bridge with a box of dirty Q-tips in a brown paper bag, doing two at a time.
Ear candling popped up briefly as a fad recently. It claimed to remove ear wax by melting it with a candle stuck into the ear. It didn't feel nearly as sexy as Q-tips, and after various people set their heads on fire and dripped hot wax onto their perforated their eardrums, the fad died down.
Q-tips mash down the tiny hairs inside your ear, and that’s bad. You end up with more dirt, more infections, and the most annoying affliction of all, more people saying, “I told you so.” Dr. Rod Moser states that the safest tool for cleaning your ear is your elbow. Dr. Moser is as funny as my Uncle Milton.
The Chesebrough-Pond company, makers of Q-tips, is very quiet on the subject because they know 99% of people buy Q-tips to stick in their ears. The company walks a delicate line: they can’t tell not to stick a Q-tip in your ear because they’ll go broke. But they can’t encourage you to do it because you’ll sue them when you drive one through your eardrum into your brain, which would somehow be their fault. The box claims that Q-tips are “the perfect tool for uses outside the ear.”
That’s like saying heroin is the perfect drug for uses outside your veins. What uses are there, outside of the ear? Mouse barbells?
Their website doesn’t offer any helpful tips, so to speak, probably because there aren’t any. But I did learn the glorious history of Q-tips. They were invented by Leo Gerstenzang. Judging from his name I think he also invented the ricochet.
He started the Gerstenzang Infant Novelty Company, which was a pretty smart idea, since everything is a novelty to an infant. Q-tips were originally called Baby Gays, which near as I can tell is the only clue they give as to alternate uses.