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Full Disclosure

by Lou-Ellen Barkan

Lou-Ellen is a native New Yorker, recently retired after three careers; on Wall Street, in NYC Government and, over the last sixteen years, as a not for profit CEO. With a comedian/writing partner, she has written two tv shows waiting for a home when/if the world returns to normal. In this unexpected interim, she is writing for her own pleasure and, hopefully, for others. 

Halfway to the doctor, the highway was a game of bumper cars

“My God, Grandma,” my granddaughter, Jillian, said. “You almost hit that car.”

“Too bad for him. What’s he doing in my lane anyway?”

Jillian had her hands over her eyes. “He honked. Twice. Didn’t you hear him.”

“Absolutely. I heard him perfectly.”

“You’re wearing your hearing aids, right?”

“Definitely,” I lied. “Absolutely.”

“I want to see them.”

“I’m driving,” I said. “I’ll show you when we get to the doctor

‘Red light,” she yelled. “My God, we’re going to die.”

I stopped short at the light. “Really,” I said. “If you distract me when I’m driving, we’ll have an accident. Jillian reached across the front seat and pulled off my hat. “HaI I knew it. No hearing aids. Grandma, you promised.”

“I promised?”

“You promised to wear them when you drive.”

“I forgot,” The light turned green and my souped up Subaru beat the other cars into t

“Righto,” I made a sharp turn off the highway.

Full disclosure. I hate my hearing aids.

I’ve been hard of hearing since a childhood bout with measles. As my mother was convinced that I would never find a husband with hearing aids,  I learned to lip read. This served me well until my husband, my kids and my grandkids ganged up on me. Now that I had a husband, they reminded me, the most dangerous threat had passed. So, I took out a second mortgage and bought hearing aids.

“You will love them,” Dr. O’Flaherty said. “The sound is crystal clear. Long battery life. My patients rave about how comfortable they are. The little button controls them perfectly.”

This was a record for the number of times a doctor has lied to me. Within the week, I regretted not spending the money on a first class trip around the world. More importantly, I discovered the biggest problem with hearing aids.

I could hear.

I could hear. Everything. Vacuums and phones; mine and my neighbors.  Dogs barking from the apartment upstairs.  The couple downstairs arguing. Heaters and air conditioners. Garbage trucks. Sirens. The pilot light. Which apparently made noise. Who knew?

But nothing was as terrifying as the first time I flushed.

For a few days, I did my test drives at home. Then I took the plunge and wore my hearing aids to work.  Mid-morning, on the first day, I went to take a pee break. As I flushed and the water swirled ferociously in the tank, the sound waves bounced off solid ceramic tiles. I remembered that you could die from loud noise. I felt faint.

“Did you hear that?” I asked my neighbor in the adjoining stall?

“What?” She asked. “Did I hear what?”

“The roar?”

“You mean the toilet flushing?”

“Right,” I said. “Sorry.” I took off my hearing aids and put them back in the case.

That evening, I concluded that I had kept my promise. I had bought hearing aids. But I had never specifically promised to wear them.  Splitting hairs, you say? Perhaps. Let’s talk after you buy a pair and flush. Then, you can let me know what you think.

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