REFLECTIONS: Hearing or listening, it’s still a problem

My wife and I have a problem.

Some call it hearing.

I call it listening.

It’s the result of two journeys:  My wife’s through the age of loud pounding music.   Mine, the result of tinnitus, developed after blowing out my ears shooting a 357 magnum … without earplugs.

The combination of the two creates some interesting conversations.

“Honey, would you like some tea?”

“No thanks, dear, I’ve already been there.”

“Been where?”

“What do you think I’m talking about?”

“Do you want it cold or hot?”

“What?  You gotta be kidding!”

“I just thought you’d like some before we go outside! What’s the big deal?”

‘You just don’t listen to me.”

… and thus it goes.

See, some people are convinced this is the result of hearing loss.

I’m convinced it’s called selective hearing.

The truth of the matter is I’m a fast reader … and a fast listener … and usually am done listening to people before they finish talking. (Hmmm. Gotta think about that!)

Besides that, I multi task.   

Susan does not.

“Honey, let’s go to the movie.”

“What?  Why would you want to move?   We love it here.”

“Oh Ho, getting frisky, aren’t you?”

“What’re you talking about?”

“Oh, I get it.   Now you’ve got a headache!”

“Who said anything about getting a milkshake?”

“Milkshake?  Do you EVER listen to me … I mean with both ears?”

“Of course!  How else would you ever get what you wanted.   I’ll get the car ready.”

“Car?  For what?”

“To go get the milkshake you wanted … or was that a soda?”

“I give up!”

Personally, I’m convinced that as we get older … (oops) … more mature, we have accumulated such a full head of data that sometimes when we talk, we’re scrambling through that data base for the right answer … and sometimes, it gets sidetracked.

As I’m working on this column, I had to make a pit stop…where, incidentally, our Loki likes to sleep .. and thus, the odour of puppy is rather prevalent. (NAW … it’s overwhelming!) So returning to my seat, I told Wife Susan that it might be smart to put a candle in the room.

Two minutes later, she tapped me on the shoulder and said she did what I suggested … but still was trying to figure out why I would want a package of ham in the bathroom.   

“Are you doing this for Loki,” she asked.

I broke out laughing.

(The ham went back to the frig … and the bathroom remained candleless …)

Someone once said, 7% of hearing loss is the result of sitting in a restaurant next to a table of women who just received dessert.

Makes sense to me.

I was reading this column to wife Susan and loved it when she said that it was really neat. However, as I am writing, my mind started heading in a different direction … (now that I think of it, mebbe Susan didn’t say neat…but rather wanted to eat … hmmm).  Anyway, before I got sidetracked with food, (which makes me think of BLT’s) I got to thinking that perhaps hard of hearing people should get a discount when they purchase cellphones … as they don’t hear everything that’s being said.

Whatdaya think of that??

The incorrigible Lucille has the real tip, though:  “Never wear a hearing aid because people will expect you to hear them!”

As I finish writing this, the phone rang … and Susan answered it. Twenty minutes later after she hung up, I asked her who called.

Her answer was “I don’t know.”

Who’s “I don’t know?”, I replied.

“What about snow,” she answered.

“No … not about snow … KNOW.”

“NO what?”

“No. NO.  Not about No … KNOW!”

“Don’t get snappy with me…I heard you … what’s the NO about? What don’t you want to do now?”

I gave up .. .it was time for a beer anyway.

Oh yeh, for the record … Susan didn’t know who she was talking to…it was a wrong number.   A twenty minute wrong number.

And they’re now best of friends.

God save me.

(And I’m still not ready for a hearing aid!)

Jack Batdorff is the chairman of the Pioneer Group. Email him at

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