Crow's-Feet Chronicles: Say what?
By Cindy Baker Burnett
Oct 30, 2017
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Lanny and I sometimes confuse words, such as “hearing test” with “hairy chest,” “flyswatter” with “ice water,” and “tissue” with “kiss you,” but we are worlds apart about which of us suffers more from partial hearing loss. It doesn’t get personal until Lanny calls me El Deafo. 

My friend Judy said, “I went to see my HMO doctor today,” and I responded: “I think our doctor is an HMO, but Lanny thinks he’s straight.” She laughed. 

For some reason, I need a higher volume on the TV than Lanny. While we were watching our favorite Netflix TV series last night, he said, “Our neighbors get to enjoy our hi-deaf Cable TV without even paying for it.” And, no, I didn’t turn down the volume. Harrumph! 

“Thank you for shouting at me,” said no hard-of-hearing person ever. At least Lanny finally admitted that he sometimes has trouble hearing. Coming from a long line of hearing-impaired people, he said, “I may, just MAY, need to have my hearing checked. Everybody is starting to sound like Bob Dylan.” 

Lanny has a certain amount of vanity when he considers having a hearing aid stuffed in his ear. “Don’t worry about it, Lanny,” I consoled him. “Just tell people you’re a spy.” He wasn’t amused. 

My favorite hearing loss cartoon has five elderly women walking together at a Christmas tree farm. The first one says, “Did you pick up your tree?” The second one says, “Yeah, I hurt my knee.” The third one says, “WHAT? You want to ski?” Then the fourth lady says, “No, I don’t have my key.” Finally, the fifth lady says, “Yeah, I have to pee.” 

I recall one day that an elderly customer came into our store to buy an umbrella. She misunderstood my dad when he asked, “Is it still misting?” 

“Yes,” she said with a sigh. “I still miss him.” 

Even our eleven-year-old dog Jackson is experiencing hearing loss, as well as failing eyesight. He was once a fawn-colored boxer with a black muzzle. These days he’s more like cinnamon toast with a dusting of powdered sugar. 

And just like Lanny and I must do with each other, sometimes we have to repeat things for Jackson. That’s right. A few minutes ago he was staring at me with his penetrating black eyes. Since he had already eaten, I asked, “Do you want to go outside?” He just stood there, staring at me. I raised my voice and repeated it: “DO YOU WANT TO GO OUTSIDE?” He got excited and ran to the door. Bingo! 

I hope Lanny doesn’t trip over the ottoman when I asked, in all caps, if he’s ready for dinner.