Next Year, Miracle-Ear for Everybody!

The subject line of this post is what I muttered at my mother after several hours of hanging out with my family, each and every last member of which is suddenly deaf as a post, except for my mother, and she just doesn’t listen. Here’s a sample scene, from yesterday as I was leaving my mother’s house to go pick R. up at the airport. My part must be read in a steadily increasing volume.


(Favorite Aunt and Uncle are sitting together on the sofa. Enter KF, carrying bags and car keys.)

KF: Okay, Favorite Aunt, I’m leaving for the airport now. I’ll see you tomorrow.

Favorite Aunt: You’re leaving?

KF: Yes. I’ll see you tomorrow.

Favorite Aunt: Okay, honey. See you tomorrow.

Favorite Uncle: You’re leaving?

KF: Yes. I’m going to pick R. up at the airport. I’ll see you tomorrow.

Favorite Uncle: You’re not coming back here?

KF: No, we’re going back to R.’s apartment.

Favorite Uncle: So when are we going to see you again?

KF: I’ll see you tomorrow.

Favorite Uncle: Okay, we’ll see you then.

(Exit KF, smiling through gritted teeth.)


It never fails. I’ll say something to my mother and Favorite Aunt will catch only part of it, but being insatiably curious she’ll ask what we’re talking about, so I’ll repeat it to her. Only she won’t hear part of it, so I’ll have to repeat it again, slightly louder. At which point Favorite Uncle, who is the deafest of the bunch, will begin to realize that something is being said that may or may not involve him, so he’ll go “what?” And I’ll say even louder and for the fourth time whatever it was that I was saying to my mother in the first place, which is inevitably either of absolutely no importance to anyone other than me or else is somewhat personal and something I’d prefer not shouting to everyone in the neighborhood.

I love my relatives dearly, and as R. would no doubt chime in here, at least they’re not certifiably crazy. But they’re all stubborn as crap, and are completely convinced that I mumble. All I want for Christmas at this point is a healthy infusion of patience.

That, and a 767 headed for Europe.


  1. funnnnny conversation. Reminds me of how one of my grad school classmates’ parents got confused trying to explain cognitive science to people…so they started telling people she was training to be a “brain doctor.” after that, at every family gathering, she was asked to “diagnose” aging relatives. She did manage to realize that grandma wasn’t senile after all–just going deaf.

  2. Funny story. I am 72 and already legally deaf. Hearing aids help some. Not the best.. I can no longer aford the best. Greatest breakthrough has yet to come. When Medicare declares hearing aids are a medical device and not a cosmetic luxury. Then maybe we will all hear better. By the way, I have had two (2) stapedectomies… didn’t work. Three otologists said it wouldn’t. Now what…

    Carmine Bianco

  3. You know, given the great karmic cycle of things going around and coming around, I should have known better than to give vent to my frustrations with my family’s collective hearing loss. I say this in no small part because in the last month I’ve begun to notice a slight downtick in my ability to pick R.’s voice out when we’re in a boomy environment. The frustration involved in losing your hearing must be enormous. And then to be told that it’s cosmetic! How annoying.

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