Friday, August 12, 2011

Caught By His Ears

If you've been reading these posts with any regularity (and who hasn't?) it has occurred to you by now that they lack a thread or unifying theme. I never know what will set me off and so am that much more susceptible to a good outrage whenever I cross paths with one. It is purely chance that throws them in my way now and then. Today's outrage arrived in the mail. 

We are, by and large, a liberal and progressive nation, forward-thinking, fostering such national virtues as intelligence and industriousness, tolerance for others, broad-mindedness, civility, the give-and-take of vigorous public discourse - in all, a peaceable kingdom - well, republic. We have been schooled in the easy acceptance of differences and the avoidance of damaging stereotypes, as demonstrated in this video of New York police arresting an elderly Chinese man for playing the violin - clearly "elderly Chinese man playing the violin" could not possibly be a stereotype . . .

. . . just like "bearded Muslim guy in salwar kameez traveling on an airplane" could not possibly be a stereotype. . . which brings up another sort of stereotyping - "size-ism" or the stereotyping of really large people on airplanes. Our culture discourages us from thinking of them only as frolicsome, cuddly or adorable obstacles to the public comfort - always the first concern of airlines, but that may have to wait for another post.

The particular kvetch I'm getting around to is this: when I totter out to my mailbox, which I can still manage to do periodically, I generally have to clean it out - I refer to it as "cleaning out the mailbox" rather than "going to get the mail." It is usually adrift, after a day or two, in unwanted flotsam of an anonymous nature that piles up in it like leaves on a front porch. The senders don't know who I am, care only that I may have more money than brains, and may be duped into parting with some of my hoard by their cheesy solicitations.

Solicitations du fromage

By now I am accustomed to the hectoring pamphlets of the Medicare insurers, invariably featuring a grinning pair of dodderers who have evidently forgotten the last half-century of marriage and think they've just found one another on the golf links at an assisted living facility. But today's mail held a bonus - an invitation to be part of a groundbreaking experiment in the Digital Revolution. Why is it that now I'm getting solicitations for hearing aids if not that I've been blatantly, unfeelingly stereotyped as being amongst those elderly who clearly can't hear the crickets chirping at their graveside.

"Old F-A-R-T!"

Moreover I am offered the opportunity ("once in a lifetime," considering my advanced years, and obviously on the presumption that I'm looking about for ways to pass my remaining lonely days) to meet a balding young "nationally known hearing aid expert" half my age, whose expertise will presumably help me to lead a fuller, richer senescence by 'enabling' (one of my least favorite words) me to hear, for example, the solo parts of cell phone conversations conducted in public, parents badgering their children or vice versa, the accursed ice cream truck with the electronic chimes that parks on the corner for an hour, the neighbor's Harley coasting home at 2 a.m. You get the picture.

No thanks, thinks I to myself. At least I'm old enough to know that the power of speech and the cognate power of hearing, without which speech is useless, are at best mixed blessings. 

I think I hear your cell phone ringing. Or maybe it's just my ears.

"Answer it yourself."

No comments:

Post a Comment