Could You Speak Up A Bit?

Arthritis is only one of my health problems. As well as diabetes and breathing problems, I’m also quite hard of hearing. Truth be told, I’m a crumbling old git.

(This, madam, is a weak attempt at raising a smile on your miserable clock. You don’t have to agree.)

The deafness is a consequence of many years working in noisy industrial environments, and listening to hard rock music at volume levels that could be considered painful. Almost as painful as the appalling lyrics on some of the tracks. I meanersay, Doo Wah Diddy-Diddy? What kind of tripe is that? And what price any man or woman ambling down the street singing such nonsense would be carted off to the nearest secure unit?

Still, we’re wandering off the point. I am mutt and jeff, and that’s an end of it.

Deafness is total pain in the arse. Watching television is a nightmare. I need subtitles, and the problem is some of our cheapskate digital channels don’t bother putting them on. And I’m not just talking about the real, cheapo, Mickey Mouse stations but some of the more important channels too. And it’s not only television. I find major DVDs, and we’re talking successful feature films here, and TV series which don’t have subtitles for the hard of hearing.

Having said that, some go to the opposite extreme. Harry Potter has subs in so many languages it takes me ten minutes to find English, and they don’t look that good in Serbo-Croat.

When it comes to TV series, Midsomer Murders is one of the biggest culprits. It’s also a particular favourite of mine and my wife’s. But I can’t buy the DVDs because I can’t hear a bloody word. And before you write to me and tell me that you can get Midsomer Murders with subtitles, I know you can, but you’ll find it’s only with the later series. The early ones didn’t have them.

So you’re next question is, why don’t you get some hearing aids. Beat you to it. I have some, as the picture above demonstrates, and although they are discreet almost to the point of invisibility, they’re also bloody irritating.

First, they create an irritating amount of earwax. Secondly, when I put them in, I go from hearing nothing at all to hearing everything.

We have a clock in the kitchen. Silly little thing it is. Been there years. The first time I put the lugplugs in, I heard this ticking sound and thought, “Hey up, the neighbours have really had enough now. They’ve sent us a bomb.” Five years that clock had been in the kitchen, and I didn’t know it ticked.

Although the inability to hear is an annoyance, there are some advantages to it. For example, when her indoors is nagging the pants off me to mend the front gate, I can remove my hearing aids and I don’t have to pretend that I haven’t heard her, for the simple reason that I really haven’t heard her.

Another advantage is that it cuts out all the twaddle from politicians, salespeople, and football commentators.

It also gives me scope for some great gags. For instance, I’m told there’s a General Erection in June. Is it compulsory? Only, if it is, I may need to stock up on Viagra.

When I’m in a shop and the assistant asks for £44.99, I can hand over a fiver and wait for a penny change. It doesn’t work. It’s never worked yet, but it’s fun trying it on.

Because I’m deaf I tend to raise my voice. God knows why. It’s not like I have trouble hearing myself. But it does give me the opportunity for some fun, especially in shops and supermarkets. I was born with a very high threshold of embarrassment. It takes an awful lot to make me go red in the face. As a consequence I have no problem in the supermarket when calling out in a very loud voice, “Where the hell is the Preparation H?”

And that can produce some serious cringing around me, especially when the missus is with me.

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Life With Arfur, the ebook, has made its first foray into the Amazon UK charts. Currently available for pre-order, it stands at #41 in the humour, families and parenting chart, this morning.

To order your copy CLICK HERE. Your card will not be charged until the ebook is delivered to your Kindle on the day of release (May 10th).

You can also pre-order the paperback, and you’ll find the link to that on the Amazon ebook page. But although all that, too, is not released until the 10th of May, I’m not absolutely certain when the purchase would be charged to your card.

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