I woke yesterday with pressure in my left ear. I knew what that meant. I'd had a nasty ear infection two years earlier, which taught me to visit my doctor at the earliest hint of that twinge.

I went to the local hospital's emergency room. A nurse practitioner peeked into my ear. Quietly, with an eastern-European accent, she said, "You have wugs in there."

"Wugs?" I said. I had no idea what wugs were. Some kind of growth?

"Not wugs. Woks."


"Yes, woks. I will have to remove it."

Did she say it? What did that mean? I know that "it" is a singular pronoun. And having read about The Wug Test in Steven Pinker's book The Language Instinct, I know that "wugs" is plural. So when the nurse said "it," she must have been referring to something other than the wugs.

Laughing nervously, I asked, "Have to remove what? My ear?"

"No, not the ear. The wahcks."

Oh! The wax!

As of today, I still have both ears, and no wugs. And I'm feeling much better.