It’s Not Rocket Surgery: Fearing Maids
(At least that’s what I heard you say)
I was standing at the kitchen sink when, for no apparent reason, my wife Berneice asked me to please poke a carp with ham.
I calmly looked at her and said, “Honey, we don’t have a carp or a ham, and why on earth would I poke it if we did?”
Berneice looked at me with that special look I’ve come to appreciate and began slowly mouthing the words with increased volume, “Please open the jar of jam.”
My brother Greg is a hearing aid distributor for a big chunk of North Florida. He has for years encouraged me to have my hearing checked. My answer is usually, “What?”
He’s told me about cool new hearing aids that you can’t even see. It’s not so much about vanity for me.
I’ve accepted with aging that things sometimes fall off, so I’m good with subtraction.
I’m just not sure I’m at the point where I need to start adding things.
Perhaps one day I’ll reconsider, but for now I don’t feel like I need hearing aids, even if they do make a fancy new model.
My brother fitted my 91-year-old father with a set that has all the bells and whistles, and apparently my dad can now hear.
I thought it was a bit cruel. My dad is finally at the age where he has a medical excuse for not listening to my 89-year-old mother.
It seemed grossly insensitive of my brother to fix that for Dad, but I guess it’s an acceptable trade-off to be able to hear Cubs broadcasts with more clarity.
Dad’s new hearing aids are directly synced up with his phone via Bluetooth, so when he answers his phone, they fire up and the entire call is in his ears.
It’s a pretty good plan right up until Mom answers Dad’s phone. Mom occasionally forgets that only Dad can hear his calls.
That’s when the fun begins.
Me: Dad, Mom is answering your phone by mistake.
Mom: What? I can’t hear you. Who is this?
Me: I’m sorry, Dad.
Mom: I’m very busy. Whoever this is, you need to speak up. HELLO! WHO IS THIS?
I picture my dad with his hands on his ears thrashing from side to side like he’s standing next to the speakers at a Kiss concert.
Me: Dad, Mom forgot your hearing aids are tied into the phone. You have to go get your phone from her.
Mom: HELLO! HELLO!
Me: Seriously, Dad, the yelling is not going to stop until you track her down.
I visualize my dad wandering through the house like Frankenstein’s monster, stiff-legged and stumbling over furniture, hands extended out, unable to form actual words because a 747 is landing in his head.
Mom (trying to figure out if she hit the right button on the phone): HOLD ON! LET ME LOOK AT THIS PHONE!
I realize that telling my mom to stop yelling is futile because only my dad can hear me. So I use the time to try and help him find her.
Me: Dad, she may be upstairs. But don’t yell for her because she’ll yell back. You just need to go upstairs and grab your phone.
Mom: Oh, for the love of God, these new phones aren’t worth a crap.
Me: Hang in there, Dad. It’s a small house.
Mom: WHOEVER THIS IS, YOU NEED TO CALL BACK.
Me: I love you, Dad. I’ll call back later.
Look, I know that hanging up was an option, but when you write a humor column, you just can’t let these moments pass.
Maybe one day, I’ll give in and get a fancy pair of hearing aids.
People who have them say they are life-changing.
At least that’s what I’ve heard.
Gary Yordon is president of the Zachary Group in Tallahassee, hosts a political television show, “The Usual Suspects,” and contributes columns to the city’s daily newspaper, the Tallahassee Democrat. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.