My husband is mostly deaf. I don’t mean in the way that most men are, where they can hear you but they just don’t listen to you. I mean in the way that both of us will have to learn sign-language at some point or just stop talking all together. It is frustrating, not because I have to repeat myself all the time, but because my husband is a liar. He will pretend he heard me and instead of saying, “What was that, I didn’t hear you?” He will say, “Oh, uh-huh.” Mostly he just smiles and nods. Which makes me think he is encouraging me to talk, when really he doesn’t have any idea what I am saying; it is all static to him and I think he is actually a little happy that he can’t hear me.
The deafness is most noticeable when he listens to the radio and starts singing along. It is like a new song every time he sings it. One time he sang these words, “Bingo jaaay eh lina . . .”
“What are you singing?”
“The song that is playing on the radio.”
“You mean ‘Big Old Jet Airliner’?”
“Is that what the words are?”
“Oh . . . I thought it was French.”
Luckily, when my husband starts to sing along to a song there aren’t many people around. Although I am not sure many folks could decipher what he was singing about anyway.
“Black berry souffle, the kind you find in a bakery store, black berry souffle, I think I loooooove fur!”
“What song are you singing now?”
“It is actually called ‘Rasberry Beret’”
“Is that what they are saying?”
“Yes, the kind you find in a second hand store.”
“I thought they were talking about pie. What is a Raspberry beret?”
“A fruit hat?!”
“No, a purple hat.”
“Well that is a dumb thing to sing about, I liked my words better.”
“I’m sorry, but it is about falling in love with a girl who wears a purple hat.”
“Well I got news for you, men don’t fall in love with girls in purple hats, they fall in love with girls who make pies. I hope you know you have ruined this song for me forever.”
I once asked my husband what is the worst thing about not being able to hear and he said . . . “Huh?” My husband is actually 75% deaf in certain frequencies and 100% deaf in the frequency of my voice. When he doesn’t do things that I ask him to, he always has the same excuse, “Sorry, I didn’t hear you.” But if I say those magical words that every man longs to hear, “Who wants the last piece of cake?” He can always hear me with astounding clarity. It is a mystery.
He once got out of the car humming this little ditty . . .
“Welcome to our Jungle, we got grass and weeds. We got little dandelion puffs, way up past our knees. In our jungle, welcome to our jungle can you hand me the round-up p-p-p-p-p-p-p-p-p-p-p-p-p-please?”
“What song is that?”
“Welcome to the Jungle, by Guns N’ Roses.”
“Uh, that is the name of the song. But those aren’t the words.”
“Now, I know you are wrong about this one.”
“You think ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ is about yard care?”
“Yes, it is manly.”
“That song is actually about living in the city, and it is a terrible, dirty song.”
“Well, when I sing it,it is about mowing. So you should thank me. Because I made it into a song about the joys of lawn maintenance. I bet everyone starts singing it my way. In the jungle, my little suburban jungle, where an edger would be sw-sw-sw-sw-sw-sweeeeeet.”
“Kinda catchy isn’t it?”
My husband’s singing gives new meaning to the words ‘tone deaf.’ I can’t count the number of times I have told him to turn up his miracle ear—but alas, he has none. I have tried to convince him that he needs a hearing aid, but he does not agree. He hears ‘enough’ he says. Besides, if everything was louder how would he sleep in church—the sermon would be too distracting? If he did have a hearing aid he might be surprised at how much he has been missing.
“There are all these classic songs that you have been “singing” for years and I bet you don’t even know what they are really about.”
“Oh sure I do. Go ahead, quiz me.”
“Ok, how about Michael Jackson’s Thriller?”
“Easy, electric shock.”
“What? Where did you come up with that?”
“The video. Everyone in the video looks like they have been shocked with some type of high voltage equipment. They dance like they have been electrocuted. See I don’t need to hear every little thing to know what is going on.”
“Help me Jesus.”
“Nothing. Ok, what about Karma Chameleon by Boy George?”
“That little gecko that does the Geico commercials.”
“The Longest Time by Billy Joel?”
“A day at the DMV.”
“Def Leppard’s Pour Some Sugar on me?”
“Cat’s in the Cradle by Harry Chapin?”
“Hot blooded by Foreigner?”
“Swine Flu. Just admit it, I hear well enough to get by.”
That is when it hit me. He hasn’t been missing a thing. All those thoughts (and I use the term ‘thoughts’ loosely) rattling around in his head are better than what is really on the radio. So go ahead and sing it babe! Sing out loud, sing out strong, sing out proud and . . . sing it wrong.