Q-Tip T&R

I have a severe obsession with tension and release.

Yes, that sounds very dirty, so go ahead and make your masturbation pun and get over it.

I’m more on the Q-tip train of tension and release. Let me explain. I clean my ears with a Q-tip every day (even though they say you’re not suppose to). I do it because I like seeing all the crap I can get out of my ear. I like when I put laundry in the dryer and can peel off all the lint from the lint trap. I like that scene in The Last King of Scotland where that physician puts a golf club around the president’s waist and he lets out a great fart.

You see? Tension and release. And the joy doesn’t stop there.

I like using a file on my feet to take off calices. I like picking out the tiny rocks that jingle around in the bottom of my white Keds because they are shitty shoes and have tiny holes that collect tiny rocks. Oh God, I love picking out a really good booger. The kind that once it’s out you suddenly realize you haven’t been breathing out of that nostril as awesomely as you could.

Tension and release.

The funny thing is I am not sure why I take such joy in these little endeavors. All I know is that they spark the same feeling in me; in my gut. Like a renewal of sorts, I guess.  It’s odd because my list if Q-tip tensions is limited. I am not a neat freak. I am not very good at cleaning. I have never in my life been able to burp. I don’t pick my zits and I am not anal about having the most perfect of shaved legs (I am the queen of missing one strip of hair in that same damn spot on my calf. Woops.).

So what is it? Why do I like when I can dust an air vent and not care when I find that my shirt has a caked on chocolate stain? And, more importantly, are there any others like me who can explain this renewal tension and release phenomenon? Because it is not just a simple satisfaction (I’m sure many people enjoy the feeling when their own noses are clear of boogers), it’s a true rush of yearning. I hate when I go to do my laundry and the lint trap is clean. I am now getting used to picking up my roommate’s black hair with my toes to unclog the drain when I shower.

I mean, I understand these things are borderline gross but it feels so good when what’s done is done and I can relax.

And I need to figure out this satisfaction before this Q-tip T&R (yes, I gave it a name) gets the best of me. Oh yes, once I was almost dupped.

There were these infomercials for a while that advertised these Asian foot pads that rid your body of toxins each night and proved it by turning brown the next morning when you peeled them off. Oh. My. God. How satisfying to put something on and peel it away the next morning, ridding your body of grossness. I must have them. I saw these pads in passing at a Walgreens and they were $30 bucks! That’s a lot of doe for adhesive cotton balls. I considered asking for them as a birthday gift or something. My uncle manages a Walgreens, so maybe he could get a discount. And for some odd reason, maybe because my uncle manages a Walgreens, I have an unbridled trust in the drug store. I got my pedi-egg from there (the file that I use on my feet) and it works fantastic. Surely these Asian doo-hickey’s work wonders.

It wasn’t until I was in a health class my last semester in college that I had to read up on fucked up products that never claim anything and found a FDA loophole to being sold anyway under false pretenses. Asian foot pads were the top of the list! It turns out the pads just had some chemical in them that reacted to the heat of your foot to turn brown. Nothing was being sucked out. Nothing was being released. Buttheads. I’m glad my birthday wasn’t any time soon. That would have been a waste of my uncle’s discount.

What a close call.

That slip up made me really begin to question this desire I have and to really pin point the why. Because from here, I’m going to end up doing something really crazy like colon cleansing and whole body peels (like I could ever afford either). I just don’t want these quirks to get out of hand. Especially since I don’t know why they are there in the first place.

Perhaps they exist for the same reason I make lists and am satisfied with crossing things off it. They provide a quick accomplishment for the moment, a quick answer to a simple task. And perhaps having these simple victories can cover up the long road ahead of far off goals. Those plans that seem frighteningly too distance to conquer. The big picture tensions and releases, if you will.

I don’t know if that is exactly the reason, and so I send out this blog as a quandary to those Q-tip people like me. If there is a better explanation, let me hear it. Trust me, that resolve will bring me great joy.

As my boyfriend always says, “you got to take it one day at a time.” And today, I am waking up and picking the morning goobers out of the corners of my eyes.


–       One L

“Do people who write children’s television ever feel like giant douche bags?”


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