Reader’s Digest and Thyme

OK!  I admit it!  I’m a fan of Reader’s Digest.  I grew up on a farm in Baca County, Colorado, and my only friends were tumbleweeds, newborn calves and my cousins up the road!  Because we had a “party line” for a telephone, I never dared to talk on the phone to school friends who lived several sections of land south on other ranches. (1 section of land = 640 acres) Needless to say, when the Reader’s Digest arrived each month my siblings and I fought over who had earned the right to disappear with it as a result of chores already completed in anticipation of the mail.

Since that time, Reader’s Digest has changed it’s look a little bit, and it’s index and page numbers are easier to navigate.  It comes in “large print”, and you can even access it online!  I’m still an avid fan of Reader’s Digest, although I’m the one who pays the subscription now.

This month’s RD came in the mail this past week, and I finally had the chance to sit down with it yesterday as it had been in “hiding” with my own kids who chose to disappear with it on it’s arrival.

I had to laugh at a “humor” story about a Simon and Garfunkel song.  Yes, yes I know!  Just knowing the song, and knowing the duet means I’ve tragically aged myself.  Perhaps this will finally put to rest that rumor that I’m Terry’s 2nd wife!  I really DID grow up in the late 60’s and 70’s!

It seems a little girl had been listening to the song, “Scarborough Fair”.  She looked up at her parent and asked, “So did Parsley save Rosemary in time?”  I can’t really explain why I got the giggles over this.  I was actually laughing so hard that I had to wipe the tears of mirth from my eyes.  Chloe sat and looked at me with her very serious hound-dog look.  She was a little apprehensive, as she had been given no training about how to deal with Denise if she’d lost her mind!

As a person with hearing loss, I often misunderstand things that people say.  I’ve learned to repeat what I THOUGHT I heard when something doesn’t “fit” in the conversation.  This allows me to be proactive about the way I hear, and helps others “hear” what things may sound like to a person with hearing loss should they “rush” or “mumble”.  (See?  All those workshops at hearing loss conventions have paid off!  I really HAVE learned something!)

I love that even people with normal hearing sometimes mistake what they hear.  I also believe it’s very important for people with hearing loss to communicate what they hear when something doesn’t make sense.  It helps EVERYONE to speak up and ask for clarification.

I’ve only encountered one problem with this practice.  It doesn’t work in reverse.  If you’ve men in your life (husbands and teenage sons in particular) you can relate.  You repeat what you thought you heard and are RIGHT.  Aforementioned subjects try desperately to find an “life raft” from their “ship that is quickly sinking“!  An example:

me: “Honey?  Will you let the dogs out and get one of the kids to set the table?”

“honey”: “I’m reading the paper, and have worked all day.  Give me a minute!”

(I poke my head around the corner with eyes wide and point to my CI which clues the other person in that I heard “something” just fine!)

me: “Did you say, ‘I’m reading the paper and have worked ALL DAY?’ ”

(The paper comes down, the color washes from his face and all of 60 seconds rushes by as if time is being SUCKED OUT OF THE ROOM)

“honey”: “Umm… I said ‘I can’t REACH the paper to THROW IT AWAY’ ”

(I look at the paper in “honey’s” lap and raise one eyebrow with the practice and finesse of a true “Mr. Spock”/Star Trek fan… )

“Honey” gets up to let the dogs out…

Denise Portis

© 2008 Hearing Loss Journal

2 thoughts on “Reader’s Digest and Thyme

  1. I, too, am a Readers Digest fan. Used to subscribe to the condensed books. And I truly LOVE stories about people misunderstanding what was sung or said! How about: “When Shepards Washed Their Socks by Night?” WAHAHAHAHA!
    And how about: A little boy was doing his math homework. He said to himself, ‘Two plus five, that son of a is seven. Three plus six, that son of a bitch is nine….’ His mother heard what he was saying and gasped,’What are you doing?’ The little boy answered, ‘I’m doing my math homework, Mom.’ ‘And is this how your teacher taught you to do it?’ the mother asked. ‘Yes,’ he answered. Infuriated, the mother asked the teacher the next day, ‘What are you teaching my son in math?’ The teacher replied, ‘Right now, we are learning addition.’ The mother asked, ‘And are you teaching them to say two plus two, that son of a bitch is four?’ After the teacher stopped laughing, she answered, ‘What I taught them was, two plus two, THE SUM OF WHICH, is four.’

  2. Oh yeah, reminds me of the boy learning to read… his mom overheard him:

    “Look mom, a frickin’ elephant.”

    Her eyes popped, she looked at the book, hmm…

    “That’s an African elephant.”

    Gotta love phonics :0)

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