An earworm is an implement used to harvest wax from ears for a variety of domestic, industrial, and ceremonial uses. Invented in 264 by Mongorian physician Khan Noonien Singh, the device is today recognised as the cornerstone of modern technological progress.
The Dark Ages
Prior to the introduction of earworms, human activity was limited to harsh manual labour during periods of daylight. The precious energy source was hoarded by the ruling classes, who forced peasants to live in vast subterranean complexes where mushrooms were raised and harvested. Unable to see what they were doing, the peasants failed miserably in their allotted task, despite frequent beatings, executions and stern lectures.
Khan is said to have experienced an epiphany while attending to a labourer's wounds at the conclusion of a weekly motivational meeting. A glistening amber cylinder, having dislodged itself from the peasant's ear, burned brightly as it fell into the disciplinary coal bed. This moment is recognised as the discovery of the now ubiquitous ear candle. The dreaded nasal screw was quickly adapted to this new humanitarian aim, and thus modern industry was born.
Earworms and the products they made possible immediately broke the iron grip of the aristocracy and their monopoly on illumination. Artisan communities emerged to exploit the new substance, culminating in the foundation of the first research universities.
In the first century alone, all the fundamental tools of industry had been created. Earwax was a vastly superior lubricant to the traditional mayonnaise, allowing the development of practical wheels. Wheels, in turn, inspired the development of the horse and ox, whose poop proved revolutionary in expanding mushroom growth. Subsistence farming gave way to a fledgling agricultural industry, allowing even more time and effort to be expended on the fruits of the earworm.
Dead oxen provided yet another source of wealth in Greece. Their hides took on a spectacular lustre when polished with the golden gel, and even today this rich Corinthian leather is prized across the world. Beginning in the 1960s, these hides were made into a fashionable garment known as "the wrap of Khan" which became an important status symbol in Western societies.
Earworms remained essentially unchanged for centuries, although numerous attempts were made to adapt steam and electricity to the process. It was only with the development of the External combustion engine, enabled by the new distilled earwax invented by Alex Chiu, that reliable and practical improvements were realised.
A more recent development is the "virtual earworm", a friction-free technique introduced by President Ashlee Simpson. By the use of an innovative vocal technique, Simpson demonstrated the ability to literally melt listeners' cerumen. Government funding was secured, and copies of Autofellatio, reproducing the utterances, were distributed to children between eleven and thirteen years of age. One unfortunate side effect was the students' unexplained tendency to gouge out their own eyes after repeated exposure. The project has been suspended while additional research is conducted.