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What is your most non-standard body part? For me, it’s my ears.
In many ways, my ears have handicapped my development as a person. I have come to terms with them to some extent, but they have been, for lack of a better metaphor, the millstone around my neck.
My ears are big, sure. Above average wingspan, you could say. They protrude, in the way of a pale, hairy Dumbo. Or a floppy hang glider with oriental eyes. But even that, I have come to accept. It’s fine. People have big ears. No biggie.
But what is a deal breaker is the physical contour of my ears. You know, those mysterious tubes and channels carved into the surface of your outer ear. I imagine these channels have evolved over time to help capture sound waves and direct them down the earhole itself.
I looked them up on the internet, and these ridges valleys have impossibly esoteric names, terms so exotic and mysterious that Norwegian metal bands should be queuing up to name themselves after these body parts. Helix, crus helix, scapha, antihelix, incisura, cymba, cabum, triangular fossa. Antitragus! I mean, come on. Who wouldn’t want to be part of a metal band called Antitragus!
Anyway, my personal antitragus is not standard. Perhaps it is too shallow, not pronounced enough, or curving in a way that most people’s antitraguses do not. Their antitragi. The upshot of this is that no earphone fits into my ear!
This might sound like a minor handicap, but we live in a world of sonic pollution. There is a lot going on. Sometimes earphones provide the only way to escape from the din and the noise, to turn inwards and focus.
Earphones allow this, but no earphone fits into my ear! Sure, I can jab an earpiece into my crus helix, but it will fall out within five seconds. The frustration this generates, for instance if you’re on a treadmill at gym, trying to do four kays to the strains of The Beatles’ later work … That frustration is enough to give you a mental condition.
Without earphones, I cannot turn inwards and focus on my inner monologue. Nor can I customise a soundtrack that will aid my escape, guide my meditation.
Sure, there are other design options for channelling sound down the ear canal. But these also do not suit. Headphones are too unwieldy and become too sweaty to realistically work at gym. There are also those earphones that loop around the back of your auricle. But they make your ears protrude even more and, like I said, I already look like a fleshy Dumbo.
That is what I resemble, then, when I absolutely have to use earphones. A fleshy Dumbo.
Those sexy, wireless Bluetooth Airpods? My brothers and sisters, that experience is not available to me. Life is not so rich for those of us carrying such entry-level deformities. But still we rise! Oh, yes, we overcome! No oddly shaped earholes formed against me shall prosper! We will use those twirly earphones that make our ears stick out!
I don’t generally share the story of my battle against ear oddness. I just put my head down and get on with life. But I imagine that we all have such challenges to live with. We each have our own crus helix to bear.
You too, gentle reader, must have something odd and non-standard about you, which makes life an interesting mission. Maybe you have funny legs. Allergies. A click in your jaw. A unique way of looking at life. A spot behind your molar that’s hard to reach with a toothbrush. An alternative body shape … But you don’t complain. You soldier on.
For that I salute you. We’re in this together. Each oddly shaped one of us. Non-standard in a standardised world.
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