How Do You Eat Yours?

[ posted this story about her daughter’s close encounter with a Creme Egg, which prompted me to flash-back to my childhood. Here’s the story:]

When I was about three years old, my cool bachelor uncle came to visit. He drove up in his convertible Triumph and was immediately the coolest thing on our street (and it was a long street).

I think my older sister and brother, at ages eight and ten, were MUCH more impressed than I, who took it in my three year old stride that this Uncle-Person would arrive from miles away to play with me. I don’t remember much about the visit but I do remember that it must have taken place around Easter time, for reasons that will become apparent…

One afternoon Uncle Paul was assigned the task of taking myself and my siblings to the cinema to see The Jungle Book, which was doing the rounds again, as Disney films did back then. It was a bold move, sending him out with the three children, but really, how much trouble could we cause him from the safety of our theater seats?

I’ll be honest. My memories are hazy up to a point. I’m sure there was a short film to watch and a seemingly interminable wait for the main picture. I do remember that my uncle apparently attempted to pacify us with chocolate. This is where things come into sharper focus.

Thinking about that treat bring back the darkened theater, seen from the vantage point of a short person. The seat backs were high, there walls were plush and I’m willing to bet good money that we were sitting on the right hand side of the theater hall. Trauma will sharpen your memory like that.

At some point, during the film I believe, I finished my treat: a Creme Egg. They were only on sale around Easter time and so were a huge treat, even though I wasn’t that crazy about the actual taste.

I must have played with the colourful silver, green and gold paper for a good long while, exhausting almost all the possibilities of what a small girl can do with silver paper in a darkened cinema. Then I realised there was one more thing I could do. I could put the paper in my ears to make them look pretty, like earrings.

How to balance silver paper on your ears to make them look pretty? Well, of course, you have to put it IN your ears.

It felt funny and not at all pleasant, sitting cold and scratchy in the bottom of my ear canal.

I started to wonder how to get it out. I couldn’t put my fingers in my ears to pull it out because that would just push it further in and, as any child knows, things that go in your ears will get lodged in your brain forever AND you’ll probably die.

I think my first move was to ask for help from the nearest grown-up who, although a talented graphic artist and all-around cool dude, was spectacularly unqualified to deal with a near-panicked and completely irrational small girl (although, I have to say, I think my reasoning above was something like rational…for one so young).

I remember getting louder, I remember my siblings getting in on the act, advising me, shushing me, and I remember being take out into the lobby, near-hysterical by this time.

Then I remember the best thing that could have happened: my mummy picked me up and took me out of there. I’m not sure how my uncle summoned her (public call box, I suppose) or how long it took her to get there, I just remember her being there.

The next thing I remember was being in our doctor’s office. I remember my mother trying in vain to calm me in the waiting room. I remember sitting somewhere while a nurse approached my ears with tweezers.

As if it wasn’t bad enough that I had little balls of metal in my ears, now someone was coming at me with pointy metal objects to spear me. I instantly knew how the cold metal was going to feel inside my ears, and I freaked. People soothed and pleaded and tried to convince me it wouldn’t hurt but I knew better. There was NO WAY they were touching me with those tweezers even if I had to live with tin foil in my ears for the rest of my life.

I screamed, I thrashed, I fought for my life.

At this point the room filled up with people, all of them holding me down on the examining table (which suddenly appears in my memory, although I have no idea if I was sitting on it before this point).  Finally someone managed to extract the offending wrappers from inside my ears.

I can still remember my mother’s hot, mortified face as she dragged me out through a waiting room of shocked and fascinated patients who could only imagine what had been going on behind that closed door to make me howl and scream and thrash about as if I was being prepared as a sacrifice.

So that’s how I eat a Creme Egg. How about you?

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