How to pierce your own ears

This is a story from several years ago.

I.W., who was my stepdaughter at the time, is a fiercely independent, stubborn artiste. She was about 11 years old then and had just started dyeing her hair various vivid and unnatural shades. She and her dad (now my ex) and I went out to a restaurant for dinner. Now, I.W. can have her surly moments, and at this age, they were beginning to come fast and furious. This was not one of those times. At this dinner, she was positively bubbly.

Eyes twinkling, grinning from ear to ear, she eventually asked us, "Have you noticed? What's different about me?"

I though to myself, Well, you're in a good mood! but thought that might sound tacky. "Hmm, I can't quite put my finger on it, but yeah, something does seem different about you. What is it? I give up!"

She said, "I pierced my ear."

Now, she had had normal ear piercings for several years now, and last year had added a second piercing to one of them, at one of the piercing parlors at the mall. Where was the new one? Through the cartilage at the top of her right ear. J.W and I spoke at the same time: "When did you have that done?"

"I did it last night." She had been at home, alone, last night. Wow. Yes, she did it herself! She went into a cheerful discussion of her technique, using ice to numb the ear, sterilizing the needle with rubbing alcohol, and using a cork behind her ear to push against.

"It was harder than I thought!" she said. "I had to use a shoe to push it all the way through. And you know what the creepiest part was? When I pulled it out, it squeaked."

She was so proud of herself. We had a good laugh about her use of the shoe. And you know what? This piercing never became infected or gave her any other trouble, unlike some of the ones she has had done professionally.