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Opinion >  Column

Huckleberries: Sometimes that tickle in your inner ear means Ceti eels are near

Dr. Seth Oliveria, left, and his wife, Stephanie,  far right, pose for a photo with Seth’s parents, Dave and Brenda Oliveria, prior to his graduation from the University of Florida Neurosurgery Department on June 17, 2017. (Courtesy Oliveria family)
Dr. Seth Oliveria, left, and his wife, Stephanie, far right, pose for a photo with Seth’s parents, Dave and Brenda Oliveria, prior to his graduation from the University of Florida Neurosurgery Department on June 17, 2017. (Courtesy Oliveria family)

David Keyes was thinking about Ceti eels as he mowed his lawn Thursday evening – you know, that mythical creature of torture that was introduced to movie lovers in “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.”

In a Facebook post, the Sandpoint newsman described the fictional Ceti eel as “a brain-sucking earwig on steroids.” In the 1982 sci-fi picture, Khan Noonien Singh implanted a Ceti eel into Pavel Chekov’s ear with the intention of eventually killing him. But Chekov survived. So did David, who had a close encounter with distant cousins of the Ceti eel after he put on a pair of sound-dampening earphones and fired up his mower.

David had made a quick lap around his lawn when he felt movement in his right ear. At first, he shrugged it off. But he ripped off the earphones moments later when he felt more movement. Then, he saw “what looked like a family of mutant millipedes in the ear piece around the cushion.” Worse yet, David could still feel something going on deep in his ear canal. Which prompted a dance. And some hand-to-head banging. Two of the critters tumbled out. He pulled another out with his index finger. After suffering a case of goosebumps, David finished mowing the lawn.

Moral of this story? That occasional tickle in your inner ear probably isn’t anything. But it might be.

Paging Dr. Oliveria

In spring 1997, a senior student was asked this question during the “Mr. CHS” competition at Coeur d’Alene High. “What do you plan to be doing in 10 years?” Earlier in the contest, he and a friend had performed a funny skit in which they pretended to be Spartan cheerleaders Craig (Will Ferrell) and Arianna (Cheri Oteri) of “Saturday Night Live.” The crowd was expecting a joke. The boy was known as a cut-up.

However, he answered the question seriously: “In 10 years, I’d like to be a doctor and have a family. That would be cool.”

The boy became a doctor 13 years later at the University of Colorado Denver. It took longer than expected because he obtained a doctorate in neuroscience along the way. Also, he married. Then, he began a seven-year residency in the neurosurgery department at the University of Florida. Dr. Seth Franklin Oliveria graduated from that program on Saturday, June 17, and now is headed to Portland to begin his professional career as a brain surgeon.

His mother and I are proud that he followed his dream.

Huckleberries

Poet’s Corner: “He’s all wild and woolly and rootin’-tootin’,/ that rash commie cowboy, Vladimir Putin,/ scaring the church folk with hollerin’ and hootin’,/ dang near as loco as Grigori Rasputin” – from “The Bard of Sherman Avenue: Poems by Tom Wobker” (poem: “The Moscow Kid”) … Deputy City Administrator Sam Taylor of Coeur d’Alene was miffed that he wasn’t called for jury duty this week. Now, he is excused for the next two years. “I really wanted to at least go through the process,” Sam told his Facebook friends. Yes, Sam’s a better person than the rest of us … In the “Happiness Is a Warm Gun” Dept: A sticker on a white Kia on U.S. Highway 95 in Hayden Sunday displayed the word “L-O-V-E.” All well and fine, except the E resembled a semi-automatic standing on end. Some Idahoans view love differently … Poll: Half of my HucksOnline blog readers are pessimistic about the future of this country. Only 38 percent are optimistic.

Parting shot

A Huckleberries Online blog reader is still chuckling about the above-the-fold juxtaposition of a recent photo and story. The photo showed two girls with red buckets prancing through a strawberry field. It’s clear that the photo goes to the story below: “Strawberry fields forever popular.” However, when folded (as it would have been on a news stand), the photo appears to go with with an adjacent headline: “County lifts ban on outdoor pot grows.” Yeah, we hate when that happens.

You can contact D.F. “Dave” Oliveria at 509-319-0354 or daveo@spokesman.com.

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