When I was in elementary school, I had the coolest ear muffs. They were furry bear faces that sat atop my ears connected by brown plastic band. I wore them all the time, including a day of ice skating with my cousins on one of the family farm fields that had frozen over in the middle of a Wisconsin winter.
Once upon a time, I actually enjoyed being outside in sub-freezing temps. And I am sure I was wearing some rocking snow pants. And I had my bear earmuffs.
Already lacking in general coordination, ice skating is really not my forte. And my cousins were of a general rough-housing nature that I was never of. And that is why my cousin probably saw the fun in body slamming me into the ice. Probably the same fun he saw when he made a horse throw me off when I was five years old. (And yes, I blame my cousin--and not my complete lack of athletic ability--for destroying any ice skating and equestrian Olympics hopes I may have had.)
Except instead of the bruised bottom that the horse-throwing incident resulted in, the ice skating incident led to a bit bloodier of a situation. And half of my front tooth missing.
Not too worry, it was not first time the tooth had been chipped. I slammed into the side of a swimming pool when I was 8 and broke it the first time (and destroyed any desire to be an Olympic swimmer in the process). And it has since been broken by a pencil during a history test and turkey sandwich in college. I have, to this point, avoided damaging the nerve in the tooth. But there is always that moment of tooth-chipping horror with the blood and pain and the missing tooth that generally sends me into a state of shock and running and crying.
And in that farm field that day, in my fit of shock, I left my beloved bear ear muffs behind.
The following spring my dad was helping my uncle prepare the fields for crop planting when they unearthed one fuzzy bear face cover in the dirt. My dad brought the furry face home to show me. I liked to think that somewhere in the forest, a fox or a deer was wearing my earmuffs with only one bear face on them. Or maybe a bear was wearing them ironically.
They were the last pair of ear muffs I ever owned. The trauma of the chipped tooth, the new-found fear of ice skating, and the losing of my beloved ear muffs have lingered in the back of my mind since then. (And also, at some point, ear muffs were deemed dorky.)
But lately, I have decided I want a new pair. Not that I spend an extraordinary amount of time outside (and not that I am ever ice skating), but sometimes I am on the Capital Crescent Trail early in the morning and it's cold. And my ears are cold and all I can think about it is how cold I am and it ruins my workout. And I need my hair in a ponytail when I work out and I think the hats with the ponytail holes are ridiculous. And I tried the headband ear covers things and they give me a headache like every other headband in the history of the world (I have a big head. And it does not like to be contained.)
So the obvious solution is ear muffs. Or ear grips as the pair I ordered are called.
I think I look a little ridiculous in them but for now, they'll do.
But if someone can find me brown bear furry face ear muffs, I may be willing to power through the childhood trauma of the ice skating incident to wear them. Maybe. Just don't make me go ice skating while wearing them.