This problem has been going on for way too long and finally I think my Dad is now reluctantly going to do something about it.
We all first noticed that Dad was having hearing problems a few months back as he was continually asking us to repeat portions of conversations and remarks we had just made.
We all joked that he 'must be going deaf' and 'must need a hearing aid', but this soon proved to be less of a joke and more of a reality as time progressed.
Dad's stubbornness to admit to minor hearing loss has been the source of numerous arguments with pretty much everyone in the family, friends, random strangers and pretty much anyone else which he has come in contact with in his everyday life.
I am not sure if it is because of his insane pride or him being in his mid-seventies & merely just set in his ways, but Dad has refused to accept he needs a hearing aid and accuses everyone else of either 'not mentioning things to him' or 'muttering when they talk'.
Well things finally came to a boiling point this past Sunday when I went over to my folks place for dinner.
It was mid-afternoon when I arrived (I was there early as I had not gone out drinking Saturday evening & therefore woke up quite early in the day with not much to do). Mom was in the kitchen starting to peel the potatoes when she asked if I wouldn't mind going over to the supermarket to pick up some 'essential items' for the dinner this evening.
"I really need these." Mom advised, handing me a short list. "Plus your father hasn't moved from in front of that TV all day, please take him with you so I can enjoy a few minutes peace and quiet. That television of his has been blaring terribly and it's given me a bad headache."
I wandered down the hall and entered the living room where Dad was in his favourite chair watching some old World War II movie on the TV. The volume on the television was so loud it was making the little plant on the table shake. It was like listening to something in an IMAX theatre. I could really understand Mom's point now.
"Hey Dad." I greeted him, attempting to raise my voice above the deafening volume. "I am just heading over to the supermarket for Mom, do you want to come with me?"
"Sure boy, I've seen this movie before anyway." Dad responded, jumping up as he pressed the 'Off' button on the remote.
"As long as we go over to the Save-It grocery store on the hill, I'll come along." Dad continued, referencing this horrible little supermarket miles away from here which offers discount pricing. I think the only thing Dad really enjoys about shopping is saving money & using coupons since that's all he talks about whenever the word 'shopping' is brought up.
I figured Mom could probably use as much of a break as she could get, so I agreed to Dad's demand and we headed over there. My only stipulation was I would go as long as I don't have to go in. I hate grocery shopping even for myself, so Dad would need to be doing this little errand today.
It took about 20 minutes to drive over in traffic and I sat patiently waiting in the car for another 15 minutes while Dad was wandering around shopping and undoubtedly studying the pricing of every item in the store. Finally he returned to the car and as he closed the door on the passenger seat, I immediately noticed a very strange look on his face.
He sat there in silence for a moment, looking like what I can only describe as 'dazed and confused'. I had never seen this look on his face before so my immediate concern was about his health, if he was having an attack of some sort which old people are so prone to get for some unknown reason.
"Dad, are you feeling okay? You look very odd all of a sudden." I asked quickly.
He collected his thoughts for yet another moment and then finally looked over at me and responded quite hesitantly.
"I am fine, son. But the strangest thing just happened to me inside the store. I never imagined in all my years that this would occur at my age."
"What happened Dad?" I asked anxiously trying to hurry the very slow paced story along. He definitely had my curiosity now.
Slowly Dad began his narrative.
"Well, I was just paying for my groceries at the checkout and remarking to the young lady behind the till how I really liked everything in the store, now they rearranged things. It really is so much easier to find things since they have expanded the store to take over the whole building."
"Yes, Yes. Go on" I responded impatiently. "Get to the bloody point," was my initial thoughts, but I remained silent.
"Well I just finished paying the young lady for my groceries." Dad continued. "And she gave me back my change and then she looked at me right square in the eyes and without shame asked 'Do you want to screw me'. As you can well imagine, I was completely & utterly flabbergasted."
The look on Dad's face must have been priceless since he still looks like he has just seen a ghost as he was telling me this highly improbable story.
I almost burst out laughing but realized that Dad was quite serious, so I had to question him on this further.
"Are you sure she actually said 'Do you want to screw me', Dad?" I asked hoping to bring some rationality to this totally bizarre situation.
"I swear it." Dad responded. "That is definitely something I would never dream of making up. It is shocking, simply shocking. I was so dazed by her forwardness, I just left the store without responding. I almost forgot the groceries. Whatever would your poor Mother think of all this?"
I knew by both Dad's grave tone and look on his face that he was quite serious about what he was telling me, that was certain. I then asked how old this 'young lady' was being that since Dad is in his mid-seventies, a woman in her sixties would fall into the category of being young.
"Well, I can't be 100% sure of these things, but I would estimate that she was in her early twenties or so." Dad replied seriously.
"This is totally ridiculous." I responded. "There must be some mistake. What kind of people are wandering around that bloody store of yours anyway, Dad?"
Dad still looked flustered by the whole incident and finally responded.
"I can only think she saw all the money in my wallet as I handed her the cash for my groceries. Maybe she thought I was an easy mark, being a pensioner with cash."
Thinking he might have a point here if he had a couple of thousand in his wallet I asked "Well exactly how much cash are you carrying on you right now Dad?"
"Probably about $65.00 I think." Dad responded.
Obviously that was not the motivating factor behind all this.
"Well unless this grocery store of yours is now hiring whores to work the checkout counters in order to boost the sales of produce to senior citizens, I highly doubt that the $65.00 in your wallet was the reason." I replied. "I'll go in the store and see what's going on."
As I exited the car, Dad yelled for me to see the girl at Checkout Number 3. "That's where you will find the brazen hussy, boy!"
I don't think I had ever met a brazen 'hussy' before since I am not exactly sure what that term means. I was however very curious to get to the bottom of this situation.
I entered the grocery store and could immediately tell this was some huge ugly discount barn as groceries were piled to the ceiling in their cases and seemed to be in absolutely no logical order. It is no wonder prices are cheaper here, you need to be given some incentive just to find your way through this bloody rat's maze.
I quickly grabbed a bottle of Coke and headed towards Checkout #3.
There was a girl around the age of twenty working at the till. She was chewing gum and looked extremely bored with life. She had jet-black hair with some very colourful green and red streaks in it. She was overall not too bad looking, but she was not exactly the type I had expected that would proposition my elderly father.
Actually, I have no idea what I expected to see working at the now infamous Checkout #3.
As she handed me back the change for my small purchase, she asked "Do you want a Shoe Me?" sounding almost robotic & very apathetic.
I didn't know what that was, so I asked her about it.
In her same disinterested tone, she said "Here" and handed me a brochure on some contest the store was having entitled "Shoe Me."
Evidently a "Shoe Me" is a scratch card where you can win $1000 in free footwear. An extremely crappy prize for an even more crappy contest. No wonder no one shops in this dump except my cheap father.
Suddenly, everything started to click. Because of Dad's damn poor hearing he heard "Shoe Me" as "Screw Me" and immediately thought he was being propositioned. This was hilarious.
"Did you just ask an elderly gentleman a few minutes ago if he wants a Shoe Me?" I asked the cashier as she was blowing a rather large blue bubble with her gum. The blue bubble burst as she responded.
"Probably, I ask everyone that. It's my job." she responded rolling her eyes & sounding more blase then she did earlier, if that was even possible.
I thanked her and grabbed my Coke and the brochure and headed back to the car. I was laughing so hard I almost walked into a car which was backing up. The driver kindly honked and gave me a wave using his middle finger. I even found that funny today.
I jumped into my car where Dad was waiting anxiously. Before he could say anything, I threw the brochure at him.
"Shoe Me! The cashier said do you want a Shoe Me, not do you want to screw me. You misheard her just as you have been mishearing everything lately." I barked.
I wanted to be mad at my father but this whole thing was way too damn funny. I just started laughing again hysterically.
As I was continuing my uncontrolled laughter, Dad was carefully studying the little brochure from cover to cover. Finally he put it down and looking the most embarrassed I had ever seen him in his life, and stated "Well, that explains things then. Just a silly misunderstanding on my part. Good we got to the bottom of this, boy. I think it best we now forget about this whole confusion."
There was no way I was going to be forgetting this incident. No way in the least. This story is far too good not to share, especially with Mom and Sis and everyone else who has been putting up with and suffering as a result of Dad's poor hearing. This will give them a little smile. I told Dad just that.
"I really don't think we need to trouble your poor old Mother with this silly story, boy. I think it would just upset her." Dad replied sounding still very embarrassed by the incident.
Then a thought hit me. I could withhold the story from Mom and Sis, but my silence had a price. One that would benefit Dad and the entire family.
"Ok Dad." I responded. "I will keep quiet if you agree to go to your doctor and get your hearing checked. If the doctor says you need a hearing aid, you have to get one or this story will be told to family, friends and anyone else that is willing to listen. Those are my only terms."
Dad stared at me with a snarl on his face for a moment. He knew I had him this time. Finally after a minute he spoke.
"Deal." He responded begrudgingly. He stuck out his hand and we shook. "You drive a hard bargain boy."
My father is definitely 'old school' and a man of his word. If he shakes on something, it is his bond. Just to be sure I casually inquired to Mom on the phone the next day about how Dad's hearing was lately.
"It's funny you asked about that son." Mom responded sounding extremely happy and relieved. "Just last night after you left your father announced he was making an appointment today to have Dr. Watson check out his hearing. It was so unexpected of him. Right out of the blue. I guess all of our nagging finally paid off and motivated him."
I agreed, laughing to myself. Sometimes all you need is the right motivator.