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Bespoke Versus Off-the-Rack

My husband Edward’s mother, born in 1901 and very old fashioned, was famously vague about matters not discussed in mixed company. When she had to have a hysterectomy, her niece, Tee, thought it best if Nonie at least had some idea of the territory involved and drew her a picture with pear shapes and connecting tubes to replicate the internal terrain. Nonie squinted slightly (she never wore glasses when other people were present), and then said, “Honey, I think I’d rather just not know.”  

Well, I felt somewhat the same way when Making It Grow! Director Sean Flynn and Interim Station Manager Kevin Jordan helped me make a customized ear piece recently. We opened a small box with folding staples protruding from it, which gave it a somewhat sinister appearance, and removed a small container with white powder, a plastic stick, and a bottle of liquid.

We read the directions through and through, then finally poured the liquid into the powder and stirred until we had a doughy, soft, paste which I stuffed into my ear. Sean set his phone for ten minutes. When the buzzer went off, I was supposed to neutralize the pressure by pinching my left nostril while closing my right eye and blowing out of my mouth as I removed the now hardened glob of plastic. After not too much tugging, it did come out.

I wish I hadn’t looked at the mold as it certainly gave me an entirely different perspective on my internal auditory canal construction. As a biology major and one-time anatomy and physiology teacher, the ear canal architecture was perfectly clear in my mind; until I saw what came out of my head!

The device is back and I can’t put it in by myself. There’s no way to tell what is up or what is down. We’re now going to make one for Terasa Young, who does such a terrific job in the chat room. Kevin is trying to figure out how we will distinguish between the two. Huh!  I’m perfectly sure that lovely Terasa has an ear canal perfectly configured to match the one in the textbook which will be instantly distinct from my tortured and twisted mold.  Maybe I should have stuck with the old one-sized fits all model I had been using before. 

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