Every once in a while a job comes along that is different, very different, which makes it exciting.  I was approached by an ENT Doctor and asked to make some artistic pictures of human ossicles.  My brief was pretty open ended, the only stipulation being that they be something he could hang in his waiting room.  I sifted through the mental debris of my high school education and summoned a vague notion of what these bones looked like, but was entirely unprepared for their size, or lack of it. . They are tiny, in fact the stapes (stirrup) is the smallest bone in the human body. While I was inarticulately expressing my wonder at their diminutive form and delicacy, Doc Schlemmer told me he drills holes in the top of the stirrup and performs other miraculous manipulations in order to restore or enhance patients aural shortfalls. My appreciation of what he does grew with each moment I spent clumsily maneuvering these bones into attractive formations. My fingers, which I had always considered as fairly dexterous, were reduced to great bumbling, sausage-like things, an entirely unsuitable apparatus for this kind of work.

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During one session some dust had settled on my miniature set. The ossicles looked like they were sitting among boulders, not pretty, so I leaned forward and gently blew away the dust. It is an instinctive thing to do, but an act I clearly did not think through; the stirrup was launched across my desk and fell into the deep pile carpet below. I said some pretty nasty things about myself while I crawled around under my desk searching for that little bastard.

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Despite the challenges I enjoyed every minute of this project and was happy with the results, as was my client and, in the not too distant future, I will photograph his rooms now decorated with some very unusual art.