Friday at work, I visited with a man who seemed to have some things in common with me. Initially as we engaged in conversation, I could only hear about every third word he articulated. Of course, we were in a large room and there were other people present and other conversations taking place. I apologized that I was hearing impaired and asked if he could talk a little louder. He smiled and said, “I know just what you mean.”
He went on to say that he is forty-eight years old (I thought he was bragging) and that he recently went for an annual physical examination. Prior to leaving for the doctor’s office, his wife requested that he ask his physician to have him referred for a hearing evaluation. It was her assessment that his hearing was in decline. She wanted a hearing evaluation to be a part of the doctor’s overall physical examination.
I had the thought that his wife and and the General must have a something in common. I took comfort in knowing that other men also have wives that preliminarily make their own diagnosis and subsequently want their husband’s physician to have the value of their input. I didn’t ask him what her response would have been had he declined mentioning the request for a hearing evaluation to his doctor.
He reportedly, dutifully relayed the request to his doctor. Some would say he is a smart man. How can I argue? Actually, as it turns out, one of the things we don’t have in common is a hearing impairment. When he went back to his physician’s office for a follow-up appointment a couple of weeks later to get testing results, the physician didn’t even mention his hearing. Knowing the topic would be a source of conversation when he returned home, he asked about his hearing. The doctor said, “Your hearing is just fine. There isn’t a problem”.
My friend explained that his wife perceived it otherwise. The physician smiled and said: “What you are experiencing is typical for men your age. As a man gets older, his ability to process sounds at higher tone or pitch can pose a difficulty. It reportedly is nothing to worry about and is not a sign of a hearing impairment.
So does that mean that men get smarter as they grow older or is it part of the aging process that God has equipped us with as an extra benefit? You be the judge. I’m not making a value judgment. However, simply acknowledging the question could get me into trouble.
He nodded his head as though he was in agreement with me when I verbalized that the innate newly developed issues related to range of hearing could promote an inconvenient communication glitch. I confessed that I sometimes faintly hear by name being called.
Obviously I have been trained far better than our dog was ever trained. My task is to arrive front-and-center for instructions when I hear the sound of my name. Barnabas on the other hand had no sense that there was any kind of expectation for him to come front-and-center when his name was called. The only word he ever responded to was “treat” and then it was only when it was convenient for him. Sometimes I think it has to be easier to be a dog.
Early yesterday evening I was at my computer working on my morning sermon. The word “Don” could be heard faintly in the background. I heard my name being called, but I opted to stick with the higher calling and work on my sermon. Incessantly, my name was repeated again. For heaven’s sake, you’d think she’d have the common decency to come to my office if she wanted to talk, but like I said: “I’ve been trained to report front-and-center when my name is announced.”
Arriving in full view for instruction, hers was a question: “Are you going to grill the chicken like I asked?” What part of “It’s raining outside” did she not understand. It has been a long time since I was a boy scout, but even then you didn’t attempt to start a fire in the rain. Was she delusional or was it me? I’ll let you guess.
When I mentioned rain the second time, she made some reference to the fact that I wouldn’t melt. “Okay, okay, alright, I’ll get right on it” and I did. She was right. I didn’t melt and I really didn’t get all that wet, but I was still a little concerned about the fire staying lite.
By the time the fire was ready and the coals were just right, I asked about the chicken. Where was it? It was still neatly packaged in the marinated chicken fajita package. Okay, so maybe I didn’t have a servant’s heart. The least she could have done was get it ready to put it on the grill, or so I thought. On the other hand, she was busily working on preparations to today’s lunch. Okay, so this was a team effort. I was all right with it. What choice did I have?
After getting the chicken on the grill and returning inside the house, there was one more question: “Do you mind if I cut up some bell peppers and onion for you to grill as well? Did I mention that when I started the fire, I thought I was cooking for two people? How much charcoal did I use? “Enough for two people” is my answer. Now I discover that I’ve got chicken fajita meat for eight on the grill hoping the fire is enough to cover the need. “Sure, I’ll grill the peppers and onion”.
All I can say is that the General is a smart cookie. She was right. I didn’t melt. In addition, the fajita meat had a great flavor and there is easily enough for two or three more meals. I guess you could say it takes the guess work out of what we’re having for dinner this evening. I happen to really like fajitas. In a perfect world, I favor beef, but you can only push your luck so far. The chicken isn’t half bad.
All My Best!