When I was an undergrad at the University of Iowa in the 80s, the Iowa Writers’ Workshop was kind of a big deal. So I was flattered to be—set up with? asked out by? can’t remember—a guy in the graduate fiction workshop. We’d arranged to see Bernard Tavernier’s ‘Round Midnight at the Bijou, the campus movie theater, and so found ourselves walking down the long hill to the student union one summer evening. Making small talk, I asked him what he’d been up to, and he told me he’d been to the doctor that day to get his ears cleaned—he had a problem with excessive wax buildup.