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Monday, May 4, 2015

Medical Advice That Will Blow Your Mind

Pearl will be taking a break from writing for a while in an attempt to get her her head -- and maybe even her life! -- in order.  I will be around, of course (how could I leave you, especially in springtime?), and will assume that you are wishing her the best as she moves out of her home (June 8) and on with a new phase in her life.

She will stop referring to herself in the third person once the fog has lifted..



I come from a long line of people who believe that nothing says “cure-all” like a good bowel movement.

“Mom, I’ve got a headache.”

“Have you pooped?”

We’re full of home-y advice like that. Mustard plasters, vinegar on sun burns, baking soda on bee stings –

You may lose what respect you still have for me, but I’ve got a cousin who claims that his mother used to blow cigarette smoke into his ears to combat earache.

She claims to have learned it from her mother (my grandmother).

As someone who was privy to the fact that grandma would sneak a smoke in the bathroom, standing on the bathtub and blowing it out the fan to avoid detection from grandpa, I can’t help but wonder if this was her way of having a cigarette without having to hide it.

Why blow it out a window all alone in the bathroom when you can sit on the davenport and blow it – in a curative fashion, of course – in a kid’s ear?

I’m just surprised she didn’t have a use for the ashes.

Still, I wonder about the rhythms of the body, the things we think are good for us, the things we know are not.

Me, for example.

“You sound nervous,” Mary says.

“Nah,” I say. “I’ve just had to go to the bathroom for the last hour, hour and-a-half.”

She laughs, a pleasant sound that promises commiseration and, if you’re lucky, lemon bars later.

“I’m not kidding,” I say. “I keep thinking that I’m going to do just this one more thing…” I trail off, switch ears. “You’re lucky you’re at home.”

You can almost hear her shrug over the phone. “Meh,” she says. “The difference is that at home when you finally give in and run to the bathroom you can do that weird little dance all the way there without someone asking you if you’re gonna be okay.”

“I waited until mere moments before disaster a couple weeks ago and then got stopped just short of the bathroom by someone with a spreadsheet question. The roaring panic in my head should’ve been audible, but he didn’t appear to have heard it.”

“Where do you suppose that comes from,” Mary muses. “Were we not allowed breaks as children?”

“Perhaps I’m afraid I’ll miss something,” I suggest.

“Perhaps you need someone to blow smoke in your ear.”

I laugh. This is why I call her.

“Hey,” I say, warming to the subject, “If blowing smoke in the ear is good for earache, where are we gonna have to blow that smoke when I can’t tear myself away from my desk long enough to –”

“Hey,” she says, mock-stern. “We don’t talk like that.”

"No,"I say, smiling. "We don't."

38 comments:

Jocelyn said...

You are the master of the perfect vignette.

Delores said...

We'll miss you Pearl...come back soon. Best of luck in getting settled into your new abode. Are the kitties 'coming with' this time?

ThreeOldKeys said...

My dad did the "breathing in my aching ear" thing ... sans cigarette. It was the warmth that felt good to this little kid.

And good for you -- take a break and then come roaring back .... we'll be here.

Eileen B said...

Blowing smoke and potty dancing. Pearl post are so unique and entertaining. Best wishes on your transitions.

jenny_o said...

Don't take any wooden nickels, don't forget to take pee breaks, and don't forget to come back. All the best as you forge ahead.

jabblog said...


God luck and make good memories in your new home :-)

savannah said...

i wish you well, sweetpea! we'll be here when y'all come back! xoxoxox

maurcheen said...

Yep, we ain't goin' nowheres missus. :-)

XXX

maurcheen said...

Yep, we ain't goin' nowheres missus. :-)

XXX

Should Fish More said...

Oddly, my mother did the same damn thing. I'd forgotten all about that.

See you on the other side, Pearl. Keep your back to the wind and all that.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
Sounds like you are prioritising and ensuring a bit of self-presevation; which we totally support!

Meanwhile, keep close notes.... we'll miss ya! YAM xx

Rose Blackthorn said...

I hear you about the toilet dance and the whole BMs cure all. Happily I missed out on the smoke blowing ears thing. My parents just smoked like trains and didn't bother with excuses.

sage said...

Supposedly Blackbeard could blow smoke through his ears which probably meant he was missing more gray matter which caused him to make a fatal mistake that ended up with his death and his surviving crew being hanged.

On another matter, it doesn't sound like you are living in Camelot, but I am glad you are living like it and are not leaving us in Springtime (or summer, winter and fall)

Geo. said...

Pursuant to your introduction --you assume correctly --I wish you all the best and look forward to the pleasure of your renewed company.

Buttons Thoughts said...

Oh Pearl smooth sailing girl. Hug B

Elephant's Child said...

Good luck with your move. Take care of yourself. And Mary. And vice versa.

Dawn@Lighten Up! said...

We love you, Pearl, and we'll miss you. But boy are we rooting for you!

Gigi said...

I seem to recall an old wives tale about cigarette ashes...but can't remember what for...

And yes, I know all about having the smoke blown in your ear from my mom. And the warmed olive oil put in your ear from my Mother In Law.

Sending you lots of hugs and love. It will be okay, sweetie. I promise.

Catalyst said...

Oh Pearl have you finally given up and decided to move to Arizona?

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I never heard of the blowing smoke trick, but we often ask the BM question around these parts, too.
Good luck with the move, hope it's a breeze.

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

Will be thinking of you, Pearl, and hoping that all will be well...

Far Side of Fifty said...

My Grandmother did that for me, I would like to do it for myself...perhaps a hose:) Hope you are okay!...if I took time off to straighten out my head it would be years:)

Watson said...

My grandfather did the "smoke blowing into ear" thing, but it was cigar smoke. White Owl cigars if I remember correctly. I tried one once when no one else was home and got terribly sick!

May your ears be keen to listen to your heart, and no smoke distort your vision, as you travel this part of your road. And yes, I too will miss you and hope you hurry back.

River said...

my mum made sure everybody pooped by feeding us each a laxative once a week :(
Her cure for cranky kids was to send them to bed early, "get some sleep, get the shit off your liver", her exact words.

Lin said...

Happy Moving, Pearl!

Ms Scarlet said...

All the best, Pearl!
And cigarette ash can be used to get misplaced hair dye off your ear lobes :-)
Sx

Pearl said...

Thank you, everyone. I know everything will be okay. How could it not? Dolly is coming with me, but Liza Bean will only be visiting -- no doubt in the middle of the night, in search of gin...

Ponita in Real Life said...

Wishing you a smooth transition, Pearl. Been there myself.

I've not heard of the blowing smoke in an aching ear thing, but my mum used to use the ashes to make a little paste to get drips and smears of hair dye off her skin when she was colouring her hair. It worked but even then I thought it was kinda weird.

Nancy Lattery said...

Your stories are 100 percent lovely! Good luck with your move, Peggy!!!!

NotesFromAbroad said...

Oh that Liza Bean and her Gin ... thank god for her !
It is good to know that you know that Everything will be OK.
What has Dolly said about coming with you and being an Only Cat ?
love you. happy moving house wishes to you.

Daisy said...

I am indeed wishing you well. Good luck in your new home and in getting things in order.

joeh said...

I was going there in my head only to fine you were going there as well...I should have known.

Jono said...

Wait until you get older Pearl. Pooping takes on an even more important role. Sorry to have missed you for a bit. I came up lame and had to get cured. I'm good to go now. I hope you will be, too.

Delores said...

Hope all is going well Pearlie....miss you.

Suldog said...

I've had the cigarette smoke thing come up in conversation once or twice, but have never done it or had it done to me. Nicotine does supposedly have some analgesic properties.

Best of luck on the move and hope to see you back here writing soon thereafter.

Joanne Noragon said...

Hello, Pearl. I realized it's almost moving day and dropped round to wish you all the best for the new start next week.

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Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

Do tell Pearl I wish her the best. She's a good one!