Most of the time, you could walk right by one and never know it. They live in your town, attend your schools, and eat at your mall’s food court. I am talking about grapplers! This strange breed of martial artist can normally only be spotted by their one defining feature, their ears! I am of course speaking of Cauliflower ear. When you walk by one, you see it, sticking off the side of the grappler’s head like a truck’s rear view mirror. Most of the time it looks more like a potato was glued to their head. It prompts questions like, “Is that contagious?” And from mothers the world over, “So why do you grapple if it does that to you.” Well there was alot of study on the subject the 1800’s in which they all decided that Cauliflower ear was a sign of insanity. Yep, your brain would freak out and your ears would swell. Now you might argue that it really comes from having your ears hit, rubbed, and ground beneigth an opponent until the skin and the cartilage separate and the resulting cavity fills with blood…but I think my mother would call anyone who would be involved in that on purpose IS insane.
Symptoms develop in the following way. You start watching the UFC, the resulting violence begins to unhinge your mind. After witnessing several of these shows, you feel the growing urge to learn to grapple, then despite the warnings of friends and family, you find a grappling school. Its not too late to turn back, but only 40% of people are strong enough to resist and seek treatment at this point (normally a regiment of several hours of listening to NPR does the trick). You are greeted at the door by the smell of sweat, and you see perhaps a dozen men either wearing ridiculous cotton or spandex costums, and the most insane among them shuffles over to you. You assume he is their headman. There on his head you see the full blown signs of the unhinged mind. This can be accompanied by other signs such as, weird hair cuts, gi burn on the face, and perhaps tattoos. Any sane person would run, but you find yourself giving him money and allowing him and his pack of nuts to choke you and twist your joints to the breaking point. In a few months, your own ears start to swell. Any sane person would seek treatment, but you are too far gone. You tell your friends, you think it makes you look tough. When people stare at your ears you assume they are intimidated by your crazy grappling skills, quite forgetting that they are simply wondering if whatever is growing on the side of your head is contagious. Its too late now, you have a full blow case of grappling.