HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns
July 30, 2007, Herald Journal

The greatest tip ever


This is a tip that I think everyone should know. Little did I know that I’d need to employ the maneuver only weeks after reading about it in a book.

I’ve been reading a book I picked up while on vacation called “Hey Ranger!” by Jim Burnett. It’s written by a man who was a park ranger for decades and details strange and funny scenarios he’s encountered over the years.

It also gives tips about what to do and what not to do in certain situations. Here’s where the greatest tip ever comes in.

I was reading about a guy that got a bug stuck in his ear and went to the ranger for help. The first thing the ranger asked was if anyone had tried to flush it out with water, which would be bad because the water would’ve likely killed the bug and the greatest tip ever wouldn’t work.

OK, I refer to it as the greatest tip ever, but the ranger doesn’t. Anyway, the guy said no they hadn’t done that so the ranger took out his flashlight, held it up to the guy’s ear, waited, and the bug came crawling out!

Genius! We all know bugs are attracted to light so if a bug gets caught in someone’s ear it’ll come right out if light is directed on it.

I remember reading that and then repeating it to my husband because I thought it was so cool. Yes, it is the simple things in life that excite me.

Well, just a couple days ago, my 8-year-old came in from outside holding his ear, saying it was making a clicking noise, and said it hurt. I asked if he fell or whacked it somehow, to which he replied no.

Then it occurred to me, maybe I should grab the flashlight and see if a bug was in there. However, I didn’t tell my son that I suspected this because that would’ve freaked him out. I told him I needed to look at it better with the flashlight.

I held the flashlight up to his ear for about 10 or 20 seconds and nothing happened. Then I pulled up on the top of his ear to open up the canal a bit more while still holding the flashlight and sure enough a nasty little bug came crawling right out!

I’m not an entomologist so I don’t know what it was. It looked kind of like a gnat, but bigger.

I was amazed. How awesome was that! I mean really, how annoying and painful that would be to have a bug in your ear – yowser!

So, I hope this tip reaches a lot of people and I hope you spread the word!


While playing a farm board game with my boys, I landed on a spot that pictured pigs in mud. My 8-year-old said, “Well at least you’re with your own kind!” which offended me until I realized that my game piece was a pig!