I can imagine why Van Gogh cut off his ear. About ten years ago some infernal, multilegged creature crawled deep into my ear. The itch was extreme torture even though it wasn't a pain. I poured water into the ear to flush the critter out. When that failed, I poked at the ear with various utensils not a smart approach, but the tickling was driving me mad. I was about to crack when an ant scurried out. Why do we itch? Why does a small patch of eczema or the bite of a puny mosquito cause so much discomfort? And what's the best way to soothe an itch? Rhymes with . . .