Cotton buds….. friend or foe?

As always the journalists on this paper seek to break new ground and as we hear of unusual stories we endeavour to follow them up.

I took myself to a drug rehabilitation centre where amongst all the other addicts I met with the person who was my reason to be there.  I was interviewing a young man wearing ear protectors.  As time progressed and his confidence grew he told me his story.

“I came from a good home and had a very happy childhood, okay my parents smoked and drank a little, you know how it is they went to a church social club, but there was no serious addiction.  I did well at school and got a place at University.  It was there that I think my problem started.”

I didn’t push him to continue too quickly as I could see it wasn’t easy for him, I offered him a cigarette to relax him, this seemed to calm him and he continued.

“It was there while I was alone, studying and writing essays that I started scratching my ears with my pen and for a year or so that kept the happy. As time passed and exam pressures came I started poking around in my ear hole. This gave me a buzz and soon I was wrapping tissue paper around matchsticks, but things got really serious when a friend told me about cotton buds.  I went into a chemist’s shop in an unfamiliar district and bought a small pack.  I could hardly wait to get home and try them.”

At this point he paused and took a deep breath and gathered his thoughts before continuing.

“It was just how he said it would be, I was lifted to great heights, it was almost orgasmic.  I was satisfied.  I found that once a week while having my Sunday bath was enough…. At first.  But soon I was doing a cotton bud every morning before work.  My habit was causing me no problems, I had a good job and was able to afford exotic concoctions to put on the buds to give me a bigger lift.  But my habit was becoming an addiction, I finally lost my job because I kept nipping out to the toilet for a quick twiddle.

He was almost in tears as he related his sad tale but he continued.

 “I was now using a box a day, I had even experimented with ‘kinky’ games like 3 in an ear but still true satisfaction eluded me.  Soon many chemists stopped selling to me and I even resorted to paying young children to go in the shop and buy them for me.  Gradually my friends disappeared, I became very lonely, I even searched the inter-net but it seemed I was alone or were they too scared to come out of the ‘bathroom cabinet’.  As my ear holes began to get abnormally large I realised I needed help.”

Our friend sought help from his GP but received no real help.

“Sure he did his best but giving me drops and a wad of cotton wool did not cure my addiction, soon I was back on the cotton buds.  When I found myself going through the dustbin to try and find and reuse dirty buds I realised that I must do something drastic.”

By this time he was much calmer, it seemed that this interview had lifted a heavy weight.

“I checked in here and decided that I had to go ‘cold turkey’, so I sit wearing these ear protectors, you see they are alarmed so if I try to remove them somebody comes quickly and counsels me.  I’m nearly cured now, another couple of months should see me out of here.”

I left there with a great feeling, it seems that human kind has great depths of strength. 


Ralph ‘I’ve kicked the habit’ Edmunds