Puncture the Eardrum Slowly
we still saving this Q-Tip?" David winces, as he picks up the
slightly-crusty cotton swab between thumb and forefinger ...
distastefully, like an eight-year-old picking the green peppers off her
is clear, by the pained expression on his face, that he already knows
what the answer will be.
you kidding?? I want to shout. That Q-Tip is our
vacation villa in Tuscany! That Q-Tip is our consolation prize for not
winning the two hundred million last weekend!! That Q-Tip is our ticket
to a life of luxury, leisure, and limitless lollygagging!!!
soon as I win my multi-bazillion dollar lawsuit against the Johnson
& Johnson Corporation, that is.
course I'm going to have to prove that it was their negligence that
led to my devastating injury last week, and not my own carelessness.
Yes, I was in a hurry that morning: I might not have been paying as
much attention as I should have. Yes, it was dark in the bathroom. Yes,
I was dangerously pre-caffeine. And yes, if you want to get all
technical about it, there WERE warning labels on
the box. ("Stroke swab gently around the outer surface of ear.
Avoid entering ear canal. Avoid using swab as cranial probe.")
then again, the box ALSO said "Double-Tipped For
story, as I will relate it to the kindly judge/the incredibly
sympathetic jury/the cable TV cameras, is simple. I inserted the cotton
swab into my right ear that morning, anticipating the soothing itch
relief of 100% pure cotton ...
and what I got instead was a SPEAR, savagely
plunged into my lower ear canal.
I pulled the Q-Tip out and looked at it, I was shocked to see that
there wasn't a single solitary *molecule* of cotton on that end of the
swab. Just stick. Sharp, unadorned, 100% pure cardboard stick. Another
bazillionth of an inch further and I might have ended up with a
punctured eardrum, or worse. (Although I'm not sure what would be
"worse" in this situation than a punctured eardrum. A punctured
temporal lobe, maybe?)
OK. It only bled a little bit. Five minutes
later, it was all over with. And OK, the actual pain didn't last for
very long: at least not 'pain' in the traditional sense of the
word. Still, I believe that the resulting emotional distress -- not to
mention what will almost certainly turn out to be a debilitating,
lifelong fear of Johnson & Johnson products (I'm already
having nightmares about baby powder) -- should be worth something in a
court of law. Enough, say, for an around-the-world cruise for two, or a couple of Hewson 650CL 21-speeds.
(Or at the very least a weekend in Monterey and a free tandem
course, suing the Johnson & Johnson Corporation is going to
mean exposing myself to three things I ordinarily avoid like the
plague: 1.) courtrooms, 2.) cameras and 3.) conflict. I don't have a
litigious molecule in my entire body. (If I did, I probably
would have sued The Hires Soda Company back in 1993. My big toe is still
broken, nine years later, and it's been at least that long since
I've been able to look at a can of root beer without feeling
traumatized.) Plus if I go forward with the Q-Tip lawsuit, I run
the risk of serious public humiliation. I mean ... think about it. How
would it look if the official spokesperson for National Q-Tip Safety
Awareness Day is SUING a
COTTON SWAB MANUFACTURER, forcryingoutloud?!? It's like Miss
Fire Prevention 1970 being arrested for arson.
is beginning to sound like it might be more trouble than it's worth,
David is still standing there in front of me with the evidence in hand,
waiting for the verdict. Trash ... or treasure?
"Let's hang onto it for another day or two," I sigh. I may or may not
follow through with my plan to sue the Johnson & Johnson
Corporation, but I should probably keep my options open, at least
for a little while longer.
if the Q-Tip thing doesn't pan out ... I guess I could always drop
another six-pack of root beer on my foot and go after the Hires people