Prologue: I’m on the train going to my parent’s house now. From my seat, in the reflection of the window, I am watching a rather large woman absolutely ravage a Big Mac. She is repeatedly spilling food on her rotund torso, fishing it off and putting it in her mouth. Also, she’s doing the stereotypical “Look How Gross I Am When I Eat” thing where she takes a sip of her soda WHILE she’s still chewing a mouthful of food. Do you ever really need a drink that bad that it can’t wait until you’re done chewing? Really?
Anyway, after Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow night, I will be rushing back to my apartment, throwing some clothes in a suitcase, waking up ass-early Friday morning and getting on a plane headed for Maui. The bad news? – I won’t be blogging for the 9 days I’m there.
Cut to scenes of irate people reading this:
Irate Person 1: “Are you [bleep] kidding me?”
Irate Person 2: “I’m going to kill that son of a bitch, who does he think he is?”
More Depressed Than Irate Person: (empty chair in front of an open window; terrible screams come from the street 10 stories below.)
The good news? I’ll be in fucking Maui.
This will easily be the longest I have been away from my blog since its inception. In a way I understand how parents must feel when they leave their children for extended periods of time. They put them in the kennel and just hope they’re taken good care of. Only with children I imagine it’s more intense. Like you really hope they’re OK. You really hope that they’re still there when you get back. You really hope people remember your name and come back to read your posts. You hope . . .
I figure it’s only fair to give you something in exchange for me going on the vacation of a lifetime. So I’ve decided to give you the most precious thing I have – knowledge about me. Knowledge in the form of . . .
#2 on my list of 100 Things About Me.
Like I said in the post for #1, I worry that people will lose interest if put a list of 100 things out there all at once. Unless number #96 is “I sold nuclear materials to Iran,” there’s a good chance no one’s going to care. To counteract that basic human notion of not caring about others in large segments, I’ll break it down over the course of . . . well however long it takes me. At this rate, we should get through all 100 things by the fall of ’07.
Hence, I give you number two.*
#2 I am terribly afraid of going deaf.
Starting at a young age, when I was taught in school that if you push a Q-tip too far into your ear you can go deaf, I have been overly sensitive about my ears. Back when my mother used to Q-tip my ears for me (like high school) I would plead with her the whole time, “DON’T DEAF ME! DON’T DEAF ME!!” True story. (Also true story: I became an English major. No really, I swear.)
Later on in high school, when I finally started paying attention in science class I learned that the reason so many people lose their hearing as they get older is because there are cilia in your ear which flap in the figurative breeze of the sound vibrations. If that breeze gusts too strongly, the cilia can break and, like fallen trees, never be stood up again. (I remember my teacher using that exact metaphor “like fallen trees.” It scared the shit out of me. One, because I pictures trees in my ears; and two because from that day forward I assumed every sound I heard was snapping cilia left and right. I still can’t look at a crop circle without thinking about my ear cilia.)
I looked back on all the rock concerts I had been too, all the times we had left with me screaming, “I bet the ringing in my ears is louder than yours!” and thinking it was so cool. Well kids, IT’S NOT! Going deaf, unless it’s the 80’s again, is definitely not cool.
Yes, I understand there are worse things that can happen to a person. You could have cancer, you could have no face, you could be paralyzed, you could have a tumor with hair and teeth growing in you. All dreadful, no doubt about it. But something about the thought of people constantly sneaking up on me scares the shit out of me.
Coincidentally, just yesterday, in furtherance of my bid to stay deaf-free well into old age, I bought some ridiculously expensive headphones (albeit with Sharper Image gift cards acquired in what might be considered a dubious fashion). They go right into your ear canal and form a tight seal so as to keep out external noise. Therefore, you don’t have to play your music as loud in order to hear it.
And wow, do these things work. I listened to my iPod on the subway yesterday at a little less that quarter volume and it was more than loud enough. That’s beyond impressive. But it does have it’s drawbacks – for example about five minutes ago as I was writing this, still on the train, I pulled one of those “stare up out the window as if to be in deep contemplation but really be thinking about what to eat when I get home” looks, and right at that moment the elderly woman next to me was trying to get my attention. Only I didn’t know that until, after what I can only assume were a few failed attempts at saying “Excuse me,” she finally tapped my arm. Seems she meant to go to Smithtown but got on a train for Ronkonkoma by accident and she wanted to use my cell phone to call her son.
Of course I had no problem with this; but what I DID have a problem with was that, in my efforts to not go deaf for fear of people sneaking up on me, I bought a pair of headphones that make me deaf and FORCE people to sneak up one me. Nice, sweet old women. Lost old women who just need to use my phone to find their family. I almost club one of them because I can’t hear a thing.
If that’s not enough, consider this: There are so many more famous blind people – Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Peter Falk (one eye), Helen Keller – than famous deaf people – that girl who plays all the deaf woman on TV, Helen Keller.
In fact, using this simple equation:
Ray Charles x Stevie Wonder x
Helen Keller x (1/2 Peter Falk)
Marlee Matlin x
You see that a person is 21/2 times more likely to become famous if they are blind than if they are deaf. That’s just numbers people, you can’t argue with that.
So there you go. I’m scared of going deaf. I cover my ears while walking past construction site like a pansy. I get legitimately mad when people speak loudly right into my ear. I hold my breath when I Q-tip my ears. I’ve exposed myself to you like a raw nerve ending. And that’s a pretty gross metaphor, but I hope it makes you all feel closer to me so you’ll still be here when I get back.
With that, I’m out of here. Like “15 times zones over out of here.” Everyone have a great week and think of me often. Like when you see a commercial for Hawaii. Or when you see a picture of a white sand beach. Or when you Q-tip your ears. Or when you watch “Columbo.” Think of me.
* You didn’t think I was going to just ignore an obvious poop double entendre, did you?