I have cysty ears. I can vaguely recall a character from a novel, an exceptionally old gentleman, that had a similar infliction, but I can’t for the life of me remember where I read this. Perhaps Lucky Jim? Submarine? Pnin?…I should find out.

They are not immediately obvious, except on the rare occasions my ears are uncovered. When the sun is behind me, they are revealed as dark patches within the bright red glow of the surrounding cartilage. They grow and shrink through time like a glacier, and can appear anywhere from the apex of the auricle to the earlobe (my earlobe is of the type that is attached rather than pendulous, by the way).

It’s always disconcerting to discover a new lump on one’s body, no matter how benign it seems. The cysts only appeared in my early 20s, just when my lifelong fear of death (more on this in another post) had starting to subside. Pictures of me as a child show small, elegant little cups attached to the sides of my head. That poor naïve kid imagined it may meet its end through sudden lung failure or the actions of a home invader, but never conceived that this might happen. When massaging a cyst between thumb and forefinger, I often imagine myself cutting into my ear with a pair of scissors in a sudden desperate attempt to remove the offending growth. Of course, this is would be futile. I know I would rather cysty ears than holey ones.

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