I have a special skill. It isn’t blogging. Or dog grooming. Or even chin ups, Flecky FigPenny. My own special talent, shared only with a small contingency of people, is ear folding. I can fold my 40 year old ears inside themselves, like they are a compact, portable body part. Folds down for easy storage! I’ve been doing this for almost 40 years, as a companion to my thumb sucking habit. I know. I sound like a real catch, don’t I? I do not still suck my thumb, just to be perfectly clear. But I do still fold my ears. And in constantly doing so, the cartilage never hardened. They are as floppy as a cocker spaniel’s. But the strangest thing about this weird little skill is that I prefer them tucked in. This is a problem, because it doesn’t look normal to be doing this. I do it subconsciously and often find that I’m in portable mode, unawares, with 10 people staring at me trying to figure out which birth defect to log this under. I distinctly remember a Sunday morning in church about 14 years ago when I glanced over into a section of the building we called the Alcove and noticed several pairs of eyes glued to me with very bewildered expressions. I reached up, slowly, like a person trying not to move when a pit bull is about to eat them alive. Oh. They were tucked in. Both of them. I tried to pop them out without anyone seeing my hand or my ears move. Kind of a ventriloquist situation, except without the mouth. Or the puppet. I tried to just look away from the gawkers and get back to the preaching at hand. Listen to the sermon, people. Don’t be afraid of what is different.
Anyway. Besides the very odd fact that I prefer my ears tucked in, there is one more oddity wrapped up in this: they have to be cold. For it to work…and be comfy…my ears have to be cold. The summers are rough. I just can’t get that quality time with them like I really need. But the worst ear-folding week of my life came in July 2000. Hawaii. Everything else about Hawaii was to the utmost level of perfection. The only problem was that the islands were 84 degrees at all times, with no air conditioning in any vehicle or establishment anywhere. So my ears were hot. For a week. I kept trying to fold them, and then I would pop them out in disgust and frustration. Hours would pass. I’d try again, only to fail. Again. This went on for more than a week. I was desperate. I even tried ice. That was too cold.
Many wonderful things occurred while in Hawaii. Boogie boarding, toe-ring wearing, cliff diving, snorkeling with the sea turtles, etc. And when we boarded the red-eye flight 8 days later, I left a small part of my heart there on that island. But when that cold blast of airline AC came on overhead, I aimed it straight at one ear and then the other, tucked in, and went to sleep. Trading a small part of my heart for the large, floppy part of my ears was small price to pay.
My ears are cold tonight. It’s a good ending to a good week.
Say what you will about this talent. Maybe you’re even one of the ones I’ve caught staring. But deep down, you are wishing yours folded down for easy storage too.
Got a doll submission today. I spit part of a girl scout cookie out when I saw the photo. Dig deep. I know you have a past with some doll, somewhere.