What is that stupid noise? I wondered, heading inside my house from a morning of yardwork. The noise sounded a little bit like a dead branch rubbing against the roof of my house, and the annoying sound just wouldn’t go away.
A few minutes later I realized why the noise seemed to be following me around: it was in my head. Specifically, the scraping sound was in my left ear. Actually, to be even more accurate, the noise is in my left ear as I write this, because my doctor’s appointment isn’t until 6:00 this evening. Until that time, it will remain a mystery as to whether the source of the rustling noise is wax buildup, a misguided mosquito, or a leprechaun getting in a little dance practice before St. Patrick’s Day. Or maybe it will turn out to be something so disgusting that I will star in a made-for-TV movie about it and become rich. Check your local listings for the premiere of Horrible Discovery in the Eary Canal.
“I can’t stand this!” I complained to my wife.
“Oh, go stick your head under water—”
“Hey,” I shot back, “how about a little sympathy instead of— ”
“—and see if whatever is in there will float out.”
I paused to consider the possible outcome of following this wifely prescription. Would my brain ooze out my left ear? Contrary to popular opinion, I do have something besides dead air “in there.” I would have to take a chance.
I filled the bathtub with water up to my ears. (No, I wasn’t standing up. I was lying back in the tub, and I didn’t really want to paint that word picture for you, but now it’s too late.)
I shook my head back and forth, hoping to dislodge the foreign object. But it was not to be, or maybe it was a bee, I could not yet tell.
Two more attempts yielded the same results.
“This is ridiculous,” I grumbled, drying myself off. Then I remembered something sitting in my garage that might just do the trick. No, I would not attempt to sqeeze the object out of my ear by driving my car over my head. This would be even better!
We have new neighbors and, looking back, I hope they weren’t peering through my garage windows last night.
“Look, Greg! Come quick, children! That strange Mr. Fishell is in his garage. He just switched on his workshop vacuum cleaner and—what’s this? He’s holding the hose up to his left ear! Isn’t that different? Now, what can we learn about Mr. Fishell from this, children?”
All I know is there ought to be a law against “teachable moments.”
Though the suction attempt was unsuccessful, I can testify that the sound of a workshop vacuum cleaner, when funneled through its hose and directly into one’s ear, approaches the volume of an F-15 fighter jet at close range. Perhaps this discovery will be important in some scientific way. Perhaps you will hear about it, though I am unlikely to hear anything for the next six months.
There’s no escaping it: some things are just really, really hard to get out of one’s head. Hopefully the doctor can get whatever is in my ear out rather quickly. But there are things in other parts of my head (I’m talking about my mind here) that don’t come out easily at all. So I try very hard to use good judgment in what I allow into my head. Because what I watch on TV, the music I listen to, and the conversations I hold all put stuff “in there.” And some of it will stick whether I like it or not.
The best choice, of course, is to put things into your head that you want to stay there. Scripture is a good place to start. When you do put Scripture in your head, eventually it will come out of your mouth. And in the end, people will thank you for speaking God’s words into their ears.
(To learn the astonishing truth about what was in Randy’s ear, go to www.guidemagazine.org.)