Friendly fire, parasites & tropical disease, depleted uranium lodged under the skin, exposure to pesticide, mustard gas, sarin, combat stress, muscle twitching, memory loss & the whole host of “mysterious symptoms” experienced by troops located downwind from burning oil wells & chemical weapons demolition depots— & although my father evaded these dangers simply because he was deployed— quartermaster & answer man— with a tactical airlift refueling wing, as far as he can figure, the persistent ear trouble goes back to his days in the desert. Who’d need an official report when logic alone suggests the causes of hearing loss are as simple as noisy engine rooms & aircraft uptake & of course sand & dust & whatever drifted into the synthetic cells of protective plugs & Mickey Mouse ears & if it’s his fate to deal with systematic antifungal treatment for an itch that’s untreatable, so it goes, never a bad that couldn’t be worse. Distant as the whir of choppers, the what what what my father no longer asks, having learned to turn his one good ear toward or away as the conversation suits. No doubt you recall the ticker tape parades, free passes for amusement parks, cruises, hotels & other deep discounts by which we could show sufficient thanks, seal our belief in fair compensation. Headsong & humsickness are a few of the names given to earworms, those sticky tunes you can’t get out of your head the product of some memory- based cortical itch. With luck you can locate a good eraser tune to shift the stubborn soundtrack.