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Let me use the pliers!

Two boys showed up at my door yesterday to see my son. I welcomed them in and noticed something immediately about each of them. They had these things stuck in their ear lobes. Shiny things.

“Hey, did you guys know you have, um, things, metal things, stuck in your ear lobes?

They regarded me with wide-eyed surprise and both of them put their hands up to their lobes to feel the earrings that have pierced their flesh. One kid had little loops and the other one had a blue disk of some sort that was actually stretching itself a nice hole in his ear.

“Oh, uh, huh. Ha ha”, they responded slowly, not quite sure how to take my comments.

“Chris!” I yelled to my son, “Your friends have been pierced by metal objects, get me the pliers so I can save them!”

Chris just snorted at me from the other room. He knows me by now so he was pretty certain his pals were in no imminent danger of death. Although if he'd brought me the pliers they might have been.

Have you noticed that more and more kids, and when I say kids, I mean the offspring of parents other than myself, are putting more and more metal items in their ears, noses, lips, chins, eyebrows , tongues and other places best not mentioned in a family newspaper? I'd like to reassure those other parents that I have never seen a piercing on any of their children that wasn't on the facial area.

Wait, I take that back. I think I saw one boy with nipple rings, an experience I'd gladly pay not to have again.

I'm sure that you're saying to yourself, 'man is she out of date', or 'geez I wish I had a personal piercing'. If it's the first, I'd agree with you, if it's the latter, I'd really rather you didn't hang out with my son.

Yes, I'm judgmental, thanks for noticing. It's not that I think that you're a bad person, prone to going to raves, drinking buckets of alcohol, doing drugs, legal or otherwise, or stealing cars if you have more than, oh, say ten piercings, most of which aren't in your ears.

Ok, I lied. I do think you're a bit off the beaten path. And I understand that the beaten path isn't for everyone. I get that. I do. It's just that I'd prefer my son stay on the beaten path, the one with guardrails, SAFETY FIRST signs and arrows that show the way to gentle landings in soft cottony cushions.

I'm what you'd call old fashioned. I cringe when I see someone with an enormous metal ring that goes through the middle of their nasal septum. I have trouble paying attention to what a video clerk is saying to me because I can't take my eyes off her bouncing lip ring. It's shiny and moving and I'm easily distracted by such things.

“The Spongebob movies are over on aisle five, marked Family”

“Uh....” I continue to gaze at the shiny little ring bouncing up and down, up and down.

“Ma'am, are you all right?” Up and down, up and down.

“Uh...” Now my eyes have glazed over.

It's usually at this point that I suspect I'm seconds away from falling into a coma and drooling. I know staring is wrong, I do. I tell my children not to stare at strangers all the time. It's just difficult not to stare at someone who so obviously needs and wants the attention. Why else would they have impaled themselves with shiny objects if not to garner themselves the attention of others? If so, then I'm fulfilling their wishes by gawking. I'm nothing if not helpful.

I still think my son's friends should have let me use the pliers.


  1. it's really something isn't it? i don't understand the appeal of stretching one's ears either but i do know this...everything i liked when i was that age, i barely have interest in now.
    it's the longevity of the thing that gets me. once you have a hole in your face, it is there forever...
    to me, LUNCH is know?

  2. Pamela. Dear. Don't take on so.
    (is that expression in use in the USA?).
    How about, people can do whatever they like so long as it does not harm anyone else? And by 'harming anyone else' I do not included not conforming to outdated opinions about how things should be.
    If I were a friend of your son, I would turn up with a 12 inch bolt through my rectum and insist on showing it to you, just for the shock effect.
    You'll be complaining about Tom's sandals next.

  3. I too find piercings unappealing, especially those ear disc things.However I'm with Vicus, each to his own. The only word of caution I would ever advise would be please bear in mind you'll be 60 one day: what is that piercing going to look like in wrinkles or that tattoo riven with stretch marks?
    I was joking yesterday with Stepdaughter's boyfriend that when he's sitting in the bath in 30 years time bits of his body will tear along the perforations and float past as he's washing his hair.I don't think he was impressed. What always makes me laugh is the excuse that they're doing it to be different. From?

    You can't swaddle them forever. Our parents never did and we're still here.

  4. Oh, it's all right. It's all about personal choices and if it's not hurting anyone, there's really no way that you will be allowed to use the pliers on them.

    Yes, live and let live. But I do agree with Richard. They will one day be 60 and that hole in your face won't be so cute, now will it?

    Anna, you make me laugh. Yes, lunch is sometimes a major commitment, innit?

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  6. Nancy Garland8:58 AM

    Let's hear it for the pliers and for your fun perspective on the reality of our world these days!

    Thanks, Pamela,

    Nancy Garland, Founder
    WOW! Wise Older Women! ®

  7. Pamela
    I applaud your desire to use the pliers on these guys! I find that stuff to be sooooo gross... My favorite ummm..... very least favorite is the tongue piercing! And the kids who have those seem to delight in dragging their teeth across the tongue in a manner that allows them to flick that 'stud' through the teeth and out just enough to gross me out a bit before repeating the process all over again.....

    Love the scenerio you described about the video clerk... absolutely funny!
    You always make us laugh .... thanks!
    Good luck on the book!

  8. Zaynab9:26 AM

    Pam: This was a great column. The humor in your columns is usually about the real challenges that parents and families face when trying to apply the fundamentals of health and happiness. You put the fun in fundamental!

    In peace

  9. I was perhaps a little rash. Each to his own and all that, but I did not mean to criticise your plier weilding proclivities. As long as you ripped out the metal with love, I think that it would probably be OK.

  10. I do everything, including plier wielding, with love.

  11. Carolyn11:08 AM

    Lol @ you teasing them about using pliers! :o)
    The most insane piercing I've ever seen, and hope to never see again, was one where the hole in the earlobe was made by something the size of a sacrament cup (small plastic cup), only longer. I couldn't believe my eyes. How can one not stare at such a thing?

  12. Exactly Carolyn. It's for attention. It has to be. I've seen those disc things in the ears, one of the boys had one. Does he realize that once that lobe is stretched out in that hole that eventually when he's old it will more than likely hang to his shoulders?

  13. Plier Wielding with Love - the lost Ian Fleming Bond novella.

    Uh, Vicus. I think the shock value of that 12-inch bolt depends on whether you meant length or diameter

  14. ....trying very hard not to visualize vicus and his...erm....piercing....

  15. A friend in Iowa11:46 AM

    It brings more meaning to "Do Your Ears Hang Low".

    Or the fact that they do the piercings and when you have to gawk and stare at them, they ask what you are f'ing looking at.

    My reply, "The stupid sign someone stamped on your forehead."

  16. The way I look at piercings is the same way I looked at one of my co-workers when I was a civvie tech for the Navy. This machinist's mate had spent about $500 on a large tattoo of a well-endowed, topless mermaid wearing a chief petty officer's hat.
    One day he had an accident with a piece of sheet metal lacerating his arm. After more than a week of wearing a bandage, he arrived on watch to reveal that the cut and resulting stichwork left him with a tattoo of a chief's hat with a fishtail.

  17. A Texan aquaintance3:52 PM

    Pam, piercings aren't nearly as much for attention as you assume. Four of mine, and my tattoos, are hidden by clothing (which weren't done until after age 40) and weren't for attention.

    As for facial piercings, sometimes people do too many, which may appear to be solely for attention, but are still done for the person's original personal intent--even if a bit overdone. They should never be done to follow a fad, though. That isn't what piercing is about at all!

    The hardcore body modification folks, (ear tunneling/stretching, etc.) isn't common, and is a whole different conversation.

    You didn't mention women's pierced ears. Men aren't allowed in that regard?

    I guess my point is that piercings and tattoos are for personal reasons--not to simply garner attention as you say. Some piercings I find attractive--some of them I don't, but that is what makes them personal to others.

    I do believe most body piercings are not for children, other than a small tasteful earing.


  18. Hello Texas friend, long time no chat.

    so you say that piercings are for a particular reason, what would those reasons be?

    And as I said before, to each his own.

  19. A Texan aquaintance7:11 PM

    Pam, as I said, "personal reasons." Each person has his/her own special reasons for each tat or piercing. Give me a call!

  20. I will. I think I still have your number, but just in case, send me an email with it, k?

  21. Personally, i think you are using the wrong strategy.

    I say a hearty "YES!" to piercings. In fact, I say let me help you son!

    I would then pull out my
    Craftsman Pop rivet gun and begin with his scrotum! Then i would use the snap riveter. You may not know what a snap riveter is.

    it is a device that puts snaps into blue jeans. You can pop them open and pop them closed. I would then snap rivet his tongue to his knees.

    Oh this is FUN! I never knew piercing was this much revelry!

    Shall we do some more?

    But I am really getting into this piercing thing, Son.

    Are you sure I can't pop rivet your toes together?

    It is quick, decisive action like this that will keep your son from looking like a keychain display.

    Either that or you can take him to the next NASCAR race and sell Dale Earnhardt keychains from his nose.

  22. PS.

    I partially agree with zaynab. You put the mental in fundamental.


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