Swimmer’s Ear and Gun Violence

I have swimmer’s ear.

No, I’m not suggesting I can manipulate and control Janet Evans though I wrote a lot of fan fiction regarding Janet Evans back in 1992. There’s water behind my right ear and I can barely hear. It feels like there’s half of a fleshy brain grapefruit on the inside of my head that is being squeezed by a small child who doesn’t understand good touch/bad touch.

Sorry to use a cliché, but I have a hurty side head.

Everything on the right hand side sounds like a long hallway with an annoying person explaining how to program a VCR clock. It’s muffled, dampened and grainy. There isn’t much pain, but it feels weird to be living my life in mono instead of Dolby Stereo.

The worst part is all of the frontier medicine friends have suggested for me to alleviate the swimmer’s ear. The best and I can’t believe I actually did this came from Missy Lynn at Keys on Main. She is one of the piano players. She is very sweet and has a real positive attitude towards everything (this is code for Mormon). Her suggestion was to put a little bit of alcohol down my ear canal to help draw out the water.

Capital idea, I said, as I reached behind the bar and grabbed a bottle of Bacardi 151-proof rum. Pouring a shot, I used a straw to insert the booze in my ear.

Now, I don’t want to brag about my ability to consume heroic quantities of alcohol, but this was a first for me. I played college rugby so I have put hooch in my body in a variety of interesting ways, but I have never put rum in my ear. I’m like the Neil Armstrong of rum drinking and medical stuff.

Because I was not in a laboratory setting, there were few instrumental controls as the straw filled with 151 filled up my entire ear canal and dripped down the side of my face.


The pain was instantaneous. It was like grabbing a lit charcoal briquette and smashing it against the side of my face. Friends have described gonorrhea like peeing liquid lava and I think I finally have a measuring stick to know how those dirty sex freaks felt when God punished them for premarital sex. I yelped like a dog being kicked and cursed myself for not DRINKING the rum instead of putting it in my ear hole.

Not only did it not cure my swimmer’s ear, I could actually feel the booze seeping into my walnut-sized brain. I felt a little tipsy from putting rum in my non-mouth head opening and I still had to work the rest of the night.


The grapefruit is now a plum in my head and it stinks. I feel a little bit better but I hate the fact that the only exercise I have done for the last three weeks is trying to kill me. Now when I go back to the pool, I’ll have to be one of those guys with paraffin wax jammed in my ear. Who am I kidding? I was one week away from buying a Speedo and a swimming cap. And shaving my chest and legs.


It goes without saying that gun violence has shaken me up.

Selfishly, my first fear is some maniac shoots up Erin’s workplace and I get a call nobody wants. I don’t want anyone to ever to have to get that phone call or knock on the door from sympathetic police officers.

The two instances that shook me with gun violence were the Trolley Square shooting in 2007 and the Aurora theater shooting in 2012. Erin and I were walking our old dog, Samson, on the cold night in February trying to figure out where to go to dinner. I was pushing for The Pub at Trolley Square but Erin said we ate there way too much and wanted to go somewhere else. I don’t remember what we did for dinner that night, but we watched the madness that ensued that evening. Five innocent people were killed and the jerkweed who did it was killed by cops.

The Batman shooting in Colorado was horrible because my pals, Bill Oram, Kyle Goon and Jack Wang, were at the club before going to a midnight showing of the movie. They had a bunch of drinks before heading out. I was jealous that I couldn’t go with them to see the final Christian Bale offering.

Because I don’t check my phone during the shift and the television is usually on ESPN, I had no idea about the shooting until 2 a.m. The theater in Aurora looked like the Gateway Mall’s theater and for a minute, my heart sunk thinking my friends might have been in the middle of it. There was shame when I realized it was somebody else’s friends in Colorado who got the call.

Sandy Hook to Sparks, Nevada.

Gun violence sucks.

For those that think I want to take every assault rifle, smelt them down into a ball and drop it in the Marianna Trench, you’re right.

The Second Amendment is not the end all be all of the Constitution. We used to count black people as 3/5 persons and we changed that with the 14th Amendment. We used to let presidents serve in the White House for as long as they can be elected. And we made a motherfucker of a mistake with Prohibition and fixed that with the 21st Amendment.

I don’t think we need a Constitutional amendment to fix gun violence. We need to do what the Australians did after Port Arthur massacre. Offer a gun buy back program at more than fair market value. Make third-party sales illegal without having a license. Slap prison terms to all violent crimes that put people in the hole for the rest of their lives. Mental health assessments and having a special permit should be mandatory to own a gun and if your argument is that registering your gun is how the government knows you have a gun, you are a lunatic that shouldn’t own one. The right to bear arms was to keep a well-maintained militia back in powdered wig times. Gun owners that don’t want to follow the new rules should all be slapped with pussy titles. If you think you can stop the Government with a hidden gun, certainly you can do the same with one they know about.

Rattlesnakes have rattles, dogs raise their fur, and beavers slap their tails. Kids going to school don’t have any of these signals to know violence is coming.

If you’re thinking of going on a shooting spree, do us all a favor and just kill yourself instead. Trust me, you’ll be a lot more of a sympathetic figure.

Follow Ben Raskin on Twitter @BennyRaskin.

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