"I felt a slight tickle..."

Ham operators are urged to check their headsets for earwigs every six months.

Once thought to be an Old Man's tale, Earphone Earwig Infestation (EEI) has been tied to an increasing number of amateur radio operators with holes eaten clear through their brains, big enough to pass RG-58U coax.

"Mom always said never put anything in your ear except your elbow or a washcloth,"explained a ham on condition of anonymity. "So while I was tempted to address it with a cotton swab, I just ignored the tickle until the guys at our local radio club started playing peek-a-boo through my head."

The EEI Council advises semi-annual inspections regardless of headset age, brand, price point, impedance or superficial cleanliness.

"Earwigs are devilishly clever at infesting earphones," explained EEI Council co-chair on condition of anonymity. "They force entry when you're not looking. They wait until dark. They crawl into earpiece nooks and crannies and make themselves comfortable, patiently waiting for the moment you ears come in contact. What happens next is very difficult to talk about."

Our source took a moment to compose himself, and continued.

"They work both sides, kind of like digging those tunnels in the Swiss Alps. I should add they work very quietly. Funny huh? All that excavation and you'd think it would be like sticks of dynamite going off in your skull. But no. Victims report only the slightest rush of falling rain, like those white noise videos that put you to sleep."

The anonymous EEI Council co-chair added, "Even after the earwigs meet at the center of your brain, shake antennas and leave for another job site, chances are you'll notice nothing until the first windy chilly day and you hear a whistling in the breeze, and feel the onset of a hum-dinger of an ice cream headache."


Honey of a Trap

"Quick thinking saved the day," exclaimed a Big Ham Media spokesperson who requested confidentiality.

"Just as our full-court ham youth recruitment drive was beginning to bear fruit, our Big Ham demographics team alerted us to a precipitous shortage of old amateur radio operators.

"Kinda sneaked up on us like a sneaky asteroid," allowed the confidential spokesperson."Who ever thought we'd see a shortfall of geezers clutching boatanchors and vintage microphones and reminiscing about Jack Armstrong, All-American Boy, or was it Rocky and Bullwinkle? Anyway, you know those hams."

"Then someone back in the certificate department, of all places huh, came up with the idea of putting out geezer traps in public places. The analog dial with all the shortwave bands and distant cities draws 'em near, they put on the cardigan sweater, sample a little oatmeal, and we got 'em, hook line and Technician test."

The latest array of arrows in the Intelligence Community's quiver is a suite of congressional committees and recently-budgeted data-laundering agencies investigating what once was called flying saucers, marsh gas, UFOs and the wishful thinking of shabbily-dressed nutbags selling petrified wood by the roadside beyond Tucumcari city limits."

"Just because we masterfully thwarted endless decades of executive actions, deftly protected big office buildings and brilliantly steered Foggy Bottom through the farrago of foreign policy, is no reason to think we're resting on our laurels in Langley break rooms, gnawing on granola bars and looking over the packed five-wine lunches in the employee fridge to see which might be suitable for pilfering," allowed an anonymous highly-placed whistlebower, currently slated for another promotion after liftetime leakage service culminating in a coveed Blow That Whistle, Gabriel, Blow Award.

"A threat this profound takes a community of intel assets. In the past, we could get by with operatives from Yale, the academies, and IG Farben retirees who are surprising yet on their game thanks to a lifetime of multinationally-funded monkey gland injections."

"Nowadays, threats aren't just threats. They're integral parts of a Threat Cloud, or Threat Environment, as we used to say, with bo-koo synergy in play, but today's whiz kids give us an "OK Boomer" look when we deploy cringe terms like these in the discourse."

When pressed for just what the hell he was talking about, our source grew strangely frank.

"Hams are aliens. There, I said it. Ham radio operators are extraterrestrial weirdos."

The whistlebower drew closer, speaking in a whisper, signifying to this reporter his command prescence.

"They look harmless. But as history teaches, those who look harmless, who appear innocently smitten with this or that silly hobby, simple homespun family types without interest in bothering anybody, selling anybody anything or telling them how to mow their lawns, you know the type, the quiet ones."

"You gotta watch them." whispered The Company's most highly-decorated whistleblower. "You gotta watch them," he smiled,"If need be, with extreme prejudice."

















Bored Physicists Semi -Charmed

After years of spending half the world's GNP fooling around with CERN's Large Hadron Collider, only to welcome Krampus, Cthulhu, and sundry other assorted monstrous entities back into our little space/time continuum, a cracked team of nutty professors has answered the fundamental question asking why in heck amateur radio operators' shacks all look alike.

"We really didn't care why," explained a CERN boffin on condition of anonymity, "But after awhile, egging-on ultimate evils and assorted slushy nastiness itching to slither through the portal, the whole sordid business was becoming routine."

"So we began exploring more esoteric aspects of the universe, and by accident, we discovered that Shackyons far and away outnumbered all other subatomic particles combined, directly influencing how ham radio operators arrange equipment on their operating desks.

"Something boxy in the the middle, boxy stuff on the sides, the very same old pattern repeats with certain variations that don't amount to a hill of beans," dismissed the nuclear physicist, who insisted he WAS nuclear physics and didn't want to hear a lot of guff now that the matter was settled nuclear physics.

"Sure, we were initially charmed to sort this out, but really, ham radio, do they still do that? I mean, what's ham radio compared to replacing all planetary matter with anti-matter? That remains on our bucket list, OK?

"So if you don't mind, I'm late for a five wine lunch and you know Geneva traffic..."