WHITTLE: Hearing Ain’t The First To Go

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Why have people started whispering?

But, this whispering campaign is not the first “thang” to go awry in my age-creeping life.

First conspiracy against my age group came when the telephone people thought they were pulling a fast one on the public by saving on ink.

Saving on ink costs?

Why else would they make telephone directories useless to folks over 50, by making the print so small one needs a magnifying glass?

When I hit the 60 mark, I needed a Hubble telescope, plus an illuminating light to let my fingers do the walking in order to find my eye doctors’ phone number.

But, society got even with the teeny-tiny-thinking telephone folks involved in shrinking telephone directories.

No wonder we’ve adapted to lineless phones where phone books are now mostly useless. Now, we just snatch phone calls out of the air.

This isn’t the only conspiracy against the aging in America.

After 45 years of loyalty to newspapering, both in writing and reading newspapers from around the globe, now my own kind have turned on me.

News people are supposed to be clever and creative. But heck, we were not first to enter the “read the fine print” conspiracy… that title goes to America’s insurance companies.

I had to pay to get around the insurance companies’ conspiracy by hiring my two favorite lawyers of life, the late great Dick Laroche and Larry Trail, for them to read the fine print of my health insurance policies and property titles.

As for newspapers, I can still read 60-point size headlines and larger, but don’t share that with the large corporations that ruin, oops, I mean run, newspapering as we know it today, for they’ll make future headlines so small, I’ll have to order a super-duper souped-up magnifying glass.

Now that newsprint has got so small and blurry, I lean on wife Pat to cipher the fine print of our newspapers. When she’s not at home, I turn the newspapers over to my dog, Honey Bear, for her to squat and figure out what to anoint the newspapers’ with while piling up in our front yard.

When newsprint got down-sized to the point of needing help in reading my newspapers, I sought out the eye doctor. That’s when I knew trouble was surrounding me, for instead of ophthalmologist, due to the phone directory’s miniscule mini-fine print, h…!!, I walked into a proctologists’ office, complaining to the front desk lady whom I thought was having a hearing problem.

“I’m here for a sight exam,” I diagnosed to the doctor’s assistant.

“Say what?” she asked.

“I may need glasses,” I shared patiently.

“Sir, what did you say????!!!” she blurted out loudly.

“You don’t need to shout!!,” I replied, trying to stay calm. “I need my vision checked.”

“We ain’t that kind of doctor,” front desk clerk finally advised.

To which, I blurted in muted response: “Why didn’t you say so, in the first place!!??”

Finally, I asked her to direct me to a physician in the building who can see his or her way clear to give me an eye examination so I can read newspapers and telephone directories of the future.

But, it was at the eye doctor’s office, I noticed the pretty lady physician was whispering: “Mr. Whittle, do you drive at night?”

“No, m’am, I never play golf at night,” I shared calmly.

“Well, with these new stronger lens in your glasses, you’ll be able to see better for night driving,” eye physician whispered.

I don’t know precisely when this whispering conspiracy in life started?

I first noticed it when my favorite preacher, the Righteous Reverend “Dynamite” Dan Parker started whispering from the pulpit.

“What did the preacher just say?” I asked my spouse.

“He said ‘you’re a sinner!,’” she shared loud enough for folks in the next pew to hear.

“I heard that, loud and clear!” I confessed.

Last winter brought on an ear infection that caused my main body-salvaging physician, Dr. Christopher Thompson, to diagnose that I needed to go have my hearing checked.

“What did you just whisper?” I asked Chris.

Since he’s helped save my life two or three times as age creeps up on me, we’re on a “first name” basis.

“You need to see a physician who can help with your hearing,” Dr. Chris prescribed.

“OK, but you don’t have to shout,” I muttered meekly.

With my new glasses, I was able to see my way clear to the ear doctors’ offices up on second floor.

I thought it strange, there I was, trying to find my hearing, when this pushy nursy-type at the ear physicians’ office instructed me to enter this “sound-proof” room.

“That’s my problem, I want to hear sound,” I resisted.

Finally, after what seemed like hours of whispered “tests, tests, tests” in that “sound proof” room, hearing-testing doctor tried to calm me down.

“Mr. Whittle, the hearing in your left ear is diminished,” hearing physician prescribed. “It’s probably from taking dictation over the phone in your left all these years at the newspaper office…”

Next stage of life, they’ll be prescribing that I get a hearing aid.

And I’m useless when it comes to things mechanical.

But, is anyone listening out there???
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