I have always been a rebel but a rebel within reason, preferring to be an independent non-conformist rather than a group non-conformist. Also, I was somewhat resistant to “the man” but having been an Army brat and later joining the Air Force myself, I was not Abby Hoffman either. I usually just questioned the rules and tried to change the ones I did not like. This attitude brought on this event happened:
In an Air Force dormitory in late 1981 located in the heart of Germany, I sat holding an ice cube against my left ear lobe. I had already had 3 shots of tequila up to that point, not as a pain killer but just because some things at that point in my life seemed to go better with tequila; I was waiting on a needle to be suitably sterilized by a Zippo. The young lady whose name escapes me now (she was the roommate of current flame and had an incredible body) was trying to reassure me as she put a towel on my shoulder to catch the blood. She carefully dried my ear, gave it a quick swipe with an alcohol soaked paper towel, and then used a felt tip pen (Sharpies had not been invented yet) to draw a dot on my ear lobe to serve as a target.
I was handed an apple (the normal procedure actually called for a potato but we did not have one) and was told to hold it against the back of my ear. I did so and slid down in the chair so I was slouching at an angle as if I was sitting in a recliner. Straddling me, my surgeon pressed herself against me which unintentionally served as a total distraction while she drove the needle through. The morning after I would swear that it had not been a needle but was actually a railroad spike – a dull railroad spike.
She remained straddling me while holding my earlobe to stop the flow of blood. When the blood stopped flowing out of my ear lobe, she took the diamond stud earring from between her teeth (so much for all the sterilization efforts), removed the backing and then made several attempts to pass it through my earlobe. She was having issues trying to find the exit hole after sliding the earring into the hole in the front of my ear. Since she was lying on top of me at that point and squirming during her attempts, I did not complain a whole lot during the procedure, even though it took her several tries to find the hole (yes, I did make those jokes at the time). Finally, she smiled and said “Voila” and stood up. I was handed a mirror and looked at the handiwork. Not bad.
Keep in mind this was the early 80s and having a pierced ear at that time raised questions about your sexuality; so this was a bold move. Europe was a little more progressive about style so I felt a bit freer doing this (even though I was in uniform). Also, I was never one of those who wore an earring full time since I wasn’t trying to make some sort of statement.
In the years since I got it, I have worn an earring occasionally when I felt the urge. I guess it had been a long time since I had worn it because when I put one in last weekend it took my son until late in the day to even notice it, then he questioned when I had it done. When I told him “28 years ago”, he looked surprised. It’s nice for the old man to able to shock the kid now and then.
That’s me, battling the man even though I are now he.