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August 25, 2012

As Time Goes By: What's that you say? You have a deal for me? Huh?


The Daily Star

The Daily Star —  

I’m having difficulty. At 75, I think that my hearing loss has become acute. (If you think my hearing is acute, you should   see the rest of me.) Around my house, I feel things are conspiring to “get” me.
It reminds me of that movie, “Gaslight.” If you recall, in that movie, the wife (Bergman) was accused of hearing “things in   the attic.” My attic has been cleared out for many years now so that’s not what is bothering me.
My concern was all about the ear cleaning my mother did when I was a kid. She told me that if I wasn’t vigilant about keeping   my ears clean, I would end up being stone deaf before I was 30.
With a little bit of luck, my “stone deaf ears” would be Marcellus Shale and I could open a gas station.
My problem about going deaf is different. I don’t have the typical problem of having to repeat myself. People claim to talk   with me but I don’t remember it, don’t remember it.
Perhaps I have a stuffed-up brain that could only be cleared out by drinking six gallons of “herbal” tea each day. Couple   this with 80mg of Lasix that I take each day and we could start to talk about serious flooding.
I accuse my wife, Diane, of poor enunciation but she claims I still wouldn’t hear her. (Selective hearing has saved my neck   many times in the past.)
I found out over a short period of time that I was asking people to repeat what they were saying to me. “Could you repeat   that?” and “What?” were a part of my everyday conversation. I was getting as predictable as people saying “at this point in   time.” (Why not just cut to the chase and say, “NOW!”)
I can understand using a lot of verbiage if you are only getting .04375 cents a word, but being the classy guy I am, I would   never stoop to that level.
The first “clue” of hearing loss is that you start to find yourself repeating yourself that you find yourself repeating yourself.
I did what millions of other people have done, which is fire up the old PC, get the monkey to turn the crank and enter “Hearing   Aid Manufacturers,” and I started to make my list and checked it twice.
After making a few calls, I found out everyone has a “deal.” In one place with all the added incentives of being in touch   with “several companies,” I could get a discount for being a first-time customer; male; grandfather; owner of a very small   dog named Benji; daughter named Katie living at home; having a gorgeous wife
with a first name starting with a “D;
” being older than 75; and a graduate of Cornell University.
There were a few other things listed but they involved personal hygiene and things physically impossible for a 75-year-old-man   man with crappy knees and a quintuple heart by-pass who was in the early stages of hearing loss, in the early stages of hearing   loss.
I kept calling the other “contenders” for my business, hoping that they would finally get down to a point where they would   start to pay me money. That did not happen. I did get a “check” for $1,000 but I had to spend it at their place, and not any   place I chose.
It was very interesting that their prices all started at $1,000 more. As soon as you buy an “add-on” feature, such as a spare   battery, instead of a monkey turning a crank, they recouped their $1,000.
Don’t laugh: my gorgeous wife,  Diane, shops at so many stores with discounts piled on discounts that she always comes home   with more money than she started out with.
Well, I finally agreed that I should get my ears tested, and I was wired up to a machine. I cannot tell you what the machine   did or said but afterwards I felt the strong need for a cigarette and a shower. (The machine was good; I haven’t smoked in   31 years.)
The outcome was that I sure could use a hearing aid or two and that I could get them as soon as I handed over some check from   the insurance company.
Right now I can hear really well. It wasn’t wax, like they claimed, but some moldering carrots and a couple of Brussels sprouts   from the victory garden planted in 1943.
It’s great to find out that the odor that seemed to follow me wherever I went was not decay heralding old age but some unimportant   veggies that had “fallen through the cracks.”
Keep a close watch out for words like “fallen through the cracks,” because the older you get, the more likely you will end   up “between the cracks.” As time goes by, your only concern should be whether there is a six-foot drop on the other side.
Like Porky Pig always said at the end of the show, “Tha-tha-tha-hat’s all folks!” (Poor fellow, with all those repeats, he   must have been almost stone d
eaf.)
Henry Geerken is a three-time NYSUT award-winner writing humorous articles addressing retiree and senior citizen concerns.   Geerken also writes for Sail-World, World Cruising Newsletter, regarding his many humorous sailing episodes through the years.   He can be reached by e-mail at hgeerken@stny.rr.com. ‘Senior Scene’ columns can be found at www.thedailystar.com/seniorscene.