Day 325: It was the Toothpick that Finally Broke her.

Last night I was using a toothpick to scratch the inside of my ear. They’ve itched non-stop for 15 years and, though my condition is curable with steroids, I would have to give up on the tiny little orgasms I get from scratching them. Life is about balance.

The toothpicks are a new tool for me. For years, I was faithful to mechanical pencils and retractable pens. My wife loves it when she goes to sign a check and unwittingly writes her name in ear wax. Marriage is about compromise, understanding, and love, but more than anything, it’s about tolerance.

The kids were asleep and we were just about to press play on the season 4 finale of Breaking Bad (by the way, HOLY SHIT), when Lindsay saw me using my newest makeshift aural sex toy. “Absolutely not,” she said. I think it shocked her that I’d moved on to something so sharp. “You’re going to leave that laying around somewhere and one of the kids might get a hold of it and poke their eye out or something.” It wasn’t about my safety; I’m an adult so my wife lets me make my own decisions about how and when to pierce my inner ear with a miniature wooden javelin. When it comes to our children though, she’s a never inattentive lifeguard.

“Ok, I’ll make sure I throw it away,” I said as I placed the slightly tinted toothpick on the coffee table.

“You’ll forget. I’ll do it, and I’m breaking it into thirds”

Wow. I wasn’t aware the dreaded toothpick was such a blood-thirsty killing machine. Maybe we should have just burned it along with anything else in the house that has a point on it. Let’s cut off our fingers and put them in a safety deposit box. You can never be too safe.

She continued, “Plus, I don’t want you to use those because they’re the only way I can get Arlo to eat fruit.

I had forgotten that she cuts up little pieces of melon and sticks toothpicks in them like she’s catering a fancy toddler cocktail party. If she was actively encouraging our 2 year old to use them as a utensil, why was she so concerned about one lying around on the coffee table?

It’s all part of her master strategy. If she can create valid reasons why I can’t touch anything thin or sharp, she might be able to prevent me from scratching my ears.


Like any addict, I’ll simply move my operations to a secret location. Months from now, she’ll open the vanity in the basement bathroom and suffocate under a deluge of pen caps, toothpicks, paperclips, and broken-off tines of plastic forks. Let’s hope she’s willing to find a compromise. Either that or I’m destined for an intervention and it won’t be pretty.

I'm a contributing writer to Parents Magazine, GQ, Psychology Today and some others. My book, "This is Ridiculous. This is Amazing: Parenthood in 71 Lists" is available here Look for two more books in 2015: "Must. Push. Buttons (Bloomsbury Kids), and an as-of-yet untitled memoir I’ve appeared on Comedy Central’s “Live at Gotham” and “Nick Mom’s Night Out." I live in New Jersey with my wife and two sons and enjoy making them laugh more than anyone else.

29 comments On Day 325: It was the Toothpick that Finally Broke her.

  • Haha – I have it to – I call them Eargasms… but I preper good ole fashion Q-Tips – sometimes with the cotton pulled off. I must use them at least 5 times a day… keep them at work, in my car, purse, jacket pocket…

    ALSO – totally agree with Lindsay I would have the same anger…my hubby, no matter how much he says he will throw out or put something away..JUST. CAN. NOT. DO. IT! I too would be stuck cleaning up (or pulling out of my toddlers mouth) earwax covered toothpicks – ewwww!

  • this discussion worries me on several levels

    ear orgasm?

    utensils used to satiate this apparently common affliction?

    how safe are pens and pencils borrowed innocuously? ear wax is less telling than the bite marks of chewers.

    finally, Whats wrong with Q tips?

  • My wife also doesn't understand the tiny little ear scratching orgasms. I use the ends of the temples of my eyeglasses. Today, the urge was so big I used it briefly while driving. I have a very strong prescription. You do the math. But man, it felt really good.

  • Two words: dental tool.

  • I too have the incurable ear itch….

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