Ever since I was born I have always suffered from problems with my ears.
Now, when I say problems, I don’t mean with the actual ears themselves. They aren’t deformed or grotesque or anything like that. In fact they are quite cute. Tiny little things with pointy up ends, they look like elf ears. Maybe not so hot for the ladies, but if I ever decided to join up with those weirdo's who like to decamp to the nearest forest and re-enact the complete works of Tolkien, then I have a fairly good idea whose side I would be forced to go on.
No, my problems stems from what goes on inside the actual ears themselves. I’m a bit deaf you see.
I was born with a perforated eardrum in my left ear. Now when you normally get a hole in your eardrum it slowly closes over time. Sadly, mine wouldn’t, which resulted in a fair bit of hearing loss and an almost pathological fear of getting water in it, as it hurt like a bastard afterwards.
Being deaf sucks.
I lead a normal life, don’t need a hearing aid or anything like that. My hearing borders just on a level where I can function perfectly with what I have. But it does mean though that I miss out on certain things that go on around me. Certain environments are a nightmare to circumnavigate as I quite often won’t have a clue as to what's being said. I struggle with certain pitches, more so with female voices than male, and I definitely struggle with large groups, as it is sometimes hard to pinpoint certain voices over others.
One of the worst places for me to be is nightclubs. I realised that when I attempted to be a weapon of mass seduction in my teens, the art of seduction is virtually impossible when you have absolutely no idea as to what is going on.
“So, are you going to buy me a drink then?”
“I said, are you going to buy me a drink?”
“WHAT DO YOU MEAN, WHAT DO I THINK? WHAT DO I THINK ABOUT WHAT?”
“YES PLEASE, I’D LOVE ONE!”
Nightclubs weren’t the best place for meeting the ladies really.
Even now I still get myself into awkward social situations, quite simply because I can’t hear what's being said to me. I get fed up with saying “Pardon” all the time as it makes me feel like a complete tool, so my normal method to try and get myself out of these situations is to try and bluff my way through of them. This normally takes the form of either of these scenarios.
1) I just stare blankly at the person who has just spoken to me, inwardly praying that I can process some of the words that did actually penetrate my brain and form them into some basis for a coherent sentence. This normally results in me just looking a tad retarded, and the other person swiftly moving away to talk to someone else.
2) This one is more common and usually gets me into a whole area of new, fresh trouble. If someone has been speaking to me for a long while and I haven’t understood a single word that they have said, I will normally scrunch my face up into what I believe is a really interested expression and then say something which hopefully might fit in with what they are saying. This is normally something like “Really?” or “Yeah?” As you can guess, it doesn’t really work most of the time as quite often I would be so far off the mark it was unreal.
“Dan, I can’t live with how closed off you are, the way that you never talk about your feelings or problems. You’re like a closed book, and that's really something you can’t base a relationship on. I’m leaving you Dan.”
It always used to take me about three days to figure out that I had been dumped. It would be brilliant if relationships came with subtitles.
I’ve had a few operations during my younger years to try and fix the inside of my useless ear. These took the form of skin grafts that would be placed over the eardrum to make it whole again. The first took place when I was about 11, but sadly didn’t work. But I did have the satisfaction of when I came out of the operation, still heavily under the influence of the anaesthetic, I apparently tore my surgical gown off and laid on top of my bed, stark bollock naked, causing the nurse attending to me to exclaim, “He’s a big boy for his age, isn’t he?” to my shocked family.
It a strange feeling to be absolutely shamed, and yet strangely proud of something at the same time.
Still, even heavily sedated, always a playa.
The second operation I had when I was 14, there was no exposing my genitals to nurses this time round, and the operation was considered a success. So for a time I had good hearing and felt a bit normal again. But over the years scarring has built up on the eardrum and the hearing is getting worse.
I went to the hospital a few weeks ago and was given the choice. Get fitted out for a hearing aid, if I really wanted one (which I don’t), or we can go in for surgery again as apparently things have moved on a tad since I was a kid and they can do some more things within this area. The only downside is that if the operation goes wrong, I will lose all the hearing in my left ear completely.
Was a bit of a tough choice, but I have decided to go with the operation. I’m tired of always feeling like I’m five seconds behind everyone else. If it goes wrong, I virtually feel deaf in the left ear anyway.
But it won’t go wrong. I know it won’t.
And I might get stark bullock naked again.
There’s always that.