Funny story? Depends on how it strikes your ear


Small-town veterinarians fill a niche that includes more than just putting animals back together.

It is quite an adjustment to come from veterinary school to Lamesa, Texas. Dr. Kacey Tweeten grew up in North Dakota, graduated from Iowa State University and wound up in Lamesa. Small-town veterinarians fill a niche that includes more than just putting animals back together.

This particular Friday night in West Texas was like all other Fridays in the fall: football night. We go to watch six-man football in the middle of a cotton field, eat hamburgers and stand around and talk. That's what we do in West Texas.

Steven and I were in charge of cooking hamburgers for the home team. The nights were getting chilly, bringing welcome relief from flies and mosquitoes.

I like to take pictures of the football game, so after cooking I headed for the sidelines. Steven likes to visit. He finished cooking and stood next to the grill, talking about show pigs and farming with anyone who wandered by.

Dr. Tweeten called to inform me that a sick horse was on its way to the clinic. I had a couple of things I had to do at home, so I left the game to take care of them before the horse arrived and I wound up spending most of that night doing a colic surgery.

I had been home only a minute when Kerri called to say that Steven needed some help. I couldn't imagine what it might be. The game was over by now and the burgers long gone.

"A bug flew into his ear, and we can't get it out. Will you meet him at the clinic and see if you can get it out?" Kerri asked.

A bug? It was 49 degrees outside. How could a bug fly into someone's ear at that temperature?

"What kind of bug?" I asked, feeling a chuckle coming on.

"A moth. You know, one of those miller-moth things," Kerri replied as I heard a car door slam in the background.

"I am at home but Dr. Tweeten is up there. I will be there in a bit. She can get it out," I replied as the chuckle evolved into an audible giggle.

I finished my jobs around the house and found myself laughing out loud. What is the chance of a moth flying into someone's ear? It would have to tuck in its body to fit. I kept picturing the insect zooming in from 50 feet in the air, its wings by its sides like an Olympic diver. Of all the thousands of square feet at that football game, what are the odds that it could insert itself into an earhole and not even hit the rim?

I called the clinic on my way in to see what was happening. Dr. Tweeten answered on the first ring and seemed to stifle a laugh in her voice.

"Did you get the bug out of Steven's ear?" I asked, trying to keep from laughing.

"Yep, it was killing him. Seems it wouldn't quit flapping its wings, and the noise and vibration were driving him nuts. It was so deep you couldn't even see it without the otoscope. He was holding his head sideways and pushing on his tragus to keep the thing from banging against his eardrum. I finally got it out. It was bigger than a nickel. I let it go, but he ran and caught it and then stomped it. How in the world could a bug bigger than a nickel dive-bomb and enter an earhole? It was a perfect fit," she said.

By then I was laughing so hard I could barely drive, and Dr. Tweeten was laughing so hard she could barely finish the story.

I am not sure why that is so funny to me, but it is. I am still cracking up as I write this. I guess it is just the fact that a nickel-sized bug could isolate and insert itself into an earhole on a 49-degree night and get in so deep that it required a veterinarian to remove it.

Dr. Brock owns the Brock Veterinary Clinic in Lamesa, Texas.

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