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Monica Dispatch

Get Out of My Ear!
June 03, 2000

There's a thunderstorm this evening, so moths and mosquitoes and other bugs keep flying to the candle I burn on the windowsill. I fall asleep to the sound of rain, but wake up soon with a funny feeling in my right ear. Like after you go swimming and there's still water in your ear? I shake my head over and over again, trying to get rid of this feeling. It won't go away.

I wake up Regula, a girl from Switzerland who's sleeping on the cot next to me. Regula is a doctor and she looks into my ear with her headlamp, saying, "No, it's nothing, I don't see anything." I go back to sleep. But the sensation now feels EVEN MORE strong. Finally, I get some alcohol to try and dissolve whatever is in my ear. I pour it into my ear, shake my head twice, and wait for a millisecond when....

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This bug was stuck in my ear! So gross!
A BUG FALLS OUT OF MY EAR and onto the bed! I shriek. The bug squirms. Regula wakes up. Regula immediately kills the bug. I keep shrieking: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACCCCCKKKKK! The insect is long, thin and brown, with two long antennae. I think it's called an "earwig," but maybe that's because I wigged out when it crawled into my ear.

Anyway, I can't sleep for a long time afterwards, so I go out to the balcony to meditate for a little while. What dawns on me is this message: "All life is one."

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My ear was a warm, dry resting place for an earwig. I wonder if this is how it got its name?
I imagine this situation from a Buddhist point of view: This little earwig, cold and wet, only comes into our room to dry off. It looks for a place to rest, but there are no rocks under which to crawl. My ear, warm and dry and dark and narrow, is a perfect resting-place, so the little earwig goes in there! According to Buddhism, the bug, now dead, will be reborn as something else. All life is one.


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