Thursday, June 26, 2008

Why I buy Q-Tips in bulk

fix·a·tion: (fĭk-sā'shən) n.
1. The act or process of fixing or fixating.
2. An obsessive preoccupation.
3. Psychology A strong attachment to a person or thing, especially such an attachment formed in childhood or infancy and manifested in immature or neurotic behavior that persists throughout life.

Some time during junior high school, I adopted the habit of cleaning out my ears with a Q-tip daily; it is part of my showering/getting dressed routine, and is as common to me as brushing my teeth or putting in my contacts. You could say I am a little obsessive about this practice. I bring Q-tips with me on vacation, or fashion a lame substitue if I've forgotten (you wouldn't go a week without toothpaste, would you?). My husband has heard me say, "Oh, no! I forgot to clean out my ears this morning!" I have now convinced him that he should adopt a similar habit, and have trained my children to expect having me regularly clean out their ears. (Incidentally, a couple mornings ago, I was rudely awakened by my two-year old putting a Q-tip in my ear and saying "My turn!).

And now I'm going to tell you why.

I was at Centennial Beach one sunny summer day in my teen years. My best friend Liz and I were sitting on one of those green floating things in the middle of the deep end waiting out the no-swim break, or catching some rays, boy-watching, or something equally lackadaisical. Then out of nowhere, and totally unprovoked, Liz looked over at me and said something that has changed my life forever. She said, "Ewww, Jenny! Your ears are disgusting! Don't you ever clean them?" Lets just say I was impressionable. I promise you that until that day, I was completely ignorant and unselfconscious about what was in my ears; I have never been the same person since.

So now it's your turn. What do you do? What comment did someone make to you once upon a time that you still remember vividly and that still impacts you on such a regular basis?


Anonymous said...

People think I'm compulsive about cleaning my teeth. When I a leader at girls' camp, the other leaders are amazed that I floss, or given an outlet, use the water pic. "You brought a water pic to girls' camp!" they will exclaim. Of course. Why wouldn't I? Dirty teeth feel bad. They make your teeth fall out. Maybe it is Dr. Bell's old adage "Ignore your teeth and they'll go away." Mom
PS. I'm sure I cleaned your ears sometimes, didn't I?

Rebecca said...

As for teeth hygiene, I think it's gross when people don't brush their teeth first thing in the morning. Yuck.

As for other things, I had this fixation against red and pink for a long time because of something someone told me. Now, every time I buy a new shirt, I end up buying a red shirt. My favorite color, hands down.

LIz said...


You're right, I have absolutely no recollection of saying this at all. If it makes you feel better, I couldn't find q-tips in Taiwan and when I got home, a nurse had to scoop junk out of my ears with an ear spoon. I think that q-tips are fabulous. --liz

The Stiles Family said...

I am a very impressionable person, too. People have said a lot of things over the years that have impacted my life. For example, I was always told that after I had kids my metabolism would change and I would get fat and there was nothing I could do about it. Yeah, proved THEM wrong!! But there are positive things, as well. When I was very little I was told I had a natural talent for art. I loved hearing that, and I pushed myself to be even better. As I grew older, my artistic talents branched out. Then someone told me I was a naturally gifted photographer. Again, I pushed myself to be better. And I still do! Which is good, because that is my profession:-)

Nancy Sabina said...

A friend on the bus once told me that my hands were too dirty. I just never sat by that "friend" again.
After I got home from my mission my parents kept telling me how I was such a "strong woman" now. I think that really helped me to *become* a strong woman. Because I felt like I had to live up to that. I'm sure I couldn't have driven across the country, found a roommate and job, and then a husband in a totally new place if it weren't for them telling me that.
Sometimes being impressionable is a good thing.

david & michal coombs said...

i took chem 105 during my short stint at byu. i got a d- in the class (and i think the professor was being nice giving me that grade). i talked with the prof and he said i had "global issues". hmph. that made me lose all self-esteem, go into a deep depression, and drop out of college. two years later, after i'd mustered up enough self-esteem to return to school (at uvsc, this time--i'd had enough with byu by that point), i took chem 105. in order to dispel my global issues, i studied each concept intensely for (literally) hours on end until i could describe it backwards and forwards. i got an a-. i now have a 3.92 gpa, will graduate in december with a bs in community health education, and am having a paper published in the uvsc behavioral science undergraduate research journal in the fall. take that, mr. global issues...