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Mountain Family's Greatest Hits

Mountain Family's Greatest Hits

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Published by Alex Miller
Alex Miller's Vail Daily column about life as a parent in the High Country of Colorado.
Alex Miller's Vail Daily column about life as a parent in the High Country of Colorado.

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Published by: Alex Miller on May 17, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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A bean in his ear
So there I was, minutes before I had to go onstage to host acandidates’ forum last week, trying to suck a bean out of my son’s earwith a turkey baster. You can’t make this kind of stuff up. Someone, for whatever reason,had strewn a bunch of Tic-Tac-sized beans or seeds of some kindaround our first-grader’s elementary school playground. Andy, becausehe is that kind of a kid, picked one up and concluded immediately thatthe best, most logical thing to do with the bean was to insert it into hisleft ear.First, we got out the tweezers. But because the bean was about thesame size as his ear canal, there was no getting around it to grab on. Then, while Jen ran down to Google “stuff stuck in your kid’s ear,” I hadthe bright idea to put a tiny drop of super glue on the end of a Q-tip,then try to attach it to the bean. That didn’t work, either, and I knowwhat you’re thinking and will respond: I did not succeed in gluing thebean in tighter, even though my wife tried to hang such a rap on me.Water was applied (yes, let’s make the bean
), as was somethingcalled an “ear candle” acquired from the local head shop. Andy wasintrigued by the flames and smoke dancing so close to his head, butbudge the bean it did not.As I trotted up the stairs with a stick of gum (don’t ask) and the
Mountain Family/Alex Miller
turkey baster, I had to laugh because I know that there are two kindsof kids in the world: those who stick things in their ears and up theirnoses … and those who do not. My wife is one of the latter, while Imust confess that I was the kid who stuck the rubber tire off aMatchbox car up my nose when I was about Andy’s age.“Why?” my wife wanted to know. “I don’t get it.”I told her I understood it, but couldn’t explain it. Maybe it’s curiosityof the “I wonder what’ll happen if …” variety. This gives cause forconcern, because this is the basis for the actions depicted in theannual Darwin Awards. I’m not sure there’s always a correlation,though. Just because you stuck an AquaDot up your nose at age 6doesn’t mean you’re going to try to get the lid off a pickle jar with a12-gauge as an adult. But still …Interestingly enough, the more people I told about Andy’s bean, themore people revealed similar stories, either autobiographical oranecdotal. And it wasn’t just a boy thing, either. Men and women aliketold me of rubber bands up noses, a rock and a quarter ingested, a Tic Tac in the ear, etc. It reminded me of how everyone has an outrageousbarfing story; once you trot one of these gems out, everyone in theroom has another to share.But back to the object at hand: Our local doctor couldn’t budge thebean, and Andy’s howls convinced him to send us to an ear, nose andthroat specialist. The super hero in this case turned out to be Dr. Casey
Mountain Family/Alex Miller
Strahan in Edwards, who had Andy lie down on a table, looked in hisear with a fancy-looking microscope thingy and swiftly removed thebean with some kind of probe.We cheered the kind of cheer generally reserved for a happyoutcome in a 72-hour labor. Andy assured us that he has, indeed,learned a valuable lesson, and life resumed as usual with the additionof a few more gray hairs for Jen and me.And now I can’t help but ask readers: Please, if you have a good storyalong these lines, send it along and I’ll include it in a future column. If nothing else, it will help convince parents everywhere that we are notalone. …

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