Saturday, December 17, 2005

Help the Hearing Challenged

THIS Dissent reporter is kinda deaf, owing to an incident that occurred maybe twenty-five years ago. I went out to the desert with my crazy little brother Ray, and when we got there, Ray pulled out this Saturday Night Special, and he said, "Let's shoot at somethin'." Well, I was always looking for opportunities to do things with my black sheep bro--estrangement was no stranger to him--so, despite my utter lack of interest in guns, I joined him in shootin' up a cactus or something. (In those days, nobody cared.)

He gave me the little pistol and I shot it. Boy did my ears hurt. And they rang. I said, "Is it supposed to be so loud?" Ray laughed.

Well, that was over twenty years ago, and my ears have never stopped ringing.

Excuse me, I've gotta get the phone. --Well, no. That's just the ringing in my ears. Huh? Did you say something? Arrrrgh!

So, a coupla days ago, a friend of mine among the ranks of the classified accosted me in the middle of the noisy & bustling Student Services Center and poured out some kinda story. Evidently, she (or he) doesn't know that I'm hearing challenged. Hear's what I heard:

Blah blah blah blah STORAGE TRAILER. Bu-Blah blah blah blah EXPENSIVE EQUIPMENT. Blah bu blah bu blah blah TOYS PILED UP. Blah blah bu blah FELL DOWN ON TOP OF blah bu blah. Blah blah blah BROKEN. Blah ASSH*LE blah blah bu blah I DON'T CARE. Bu bu bu blah, blah blah EXPENSIVE! bu bu blah. Blah blah WE TOLD THAT GLENN blah blah. Blah WAYNE blah bu bu bu blah ASSH*LE!

Then he (or she) spun around, again with great energy, and stalked off. I think I'm supposed to write about this. But I don't know what he (or she) said!

Which reminds me. In grad school, I had a colleague named Fong or Fang. I like to think it was Fang, but I suppose it was Fong. He was from China, and his English wasn't good, and then there's my deafness. So, we were kinda friends, but I almost never understood a thing he said. But, judging by his body language and facial expressions, he was a great guy.

Well, one day, I asked him what his dissertation was about. We were both in the philosophy doctoral program over there at UCI. And philosophers tend to focus on seriously abstract issues. I think my brother (my non-crazy brother), who got a doctorate in philosophy from UCLA, did his dissertation on the idea of a "property." Or was it a "thing"? Not sure. But that's the kind of abstract topic that philosophers write about.

So I asked Fong what his thesis was about, and so, without hesitation, he asserted: "WHAT DUH FUK!"

Huh? What was that again?


Ok, Ok. That sounds pretty good I guess.

Well, judging by his expression, he still seemed like a nice guy, so I figured I just didn't understand how that particular phrase could be associated with a dissertation in philosophy. Whadoo I know? Could be, I guess.

A few months later, I found a copy of a draft of Fong's dissertation on somebody's desk. I read it. It's title:


I laughed pretty hard about that one, boy.

Somebody get the goddam phone! --CW


tree-hugger said...

Poor Chunk! I can relate, somewhat. I find that many, may students, when they leave a prof. a voice-mail, will RUSH through their own name, since they know it so well and can hardly be bothered to say it. So I'll hear things like, "Hello, my name is bwana wahpman, and...." or "Hello, my name is Gwopma Fwano, and I...." and I'll wonder: can that be right? It's VERY annoying. I am sure that it's comical when I call them back and (reading my phonic notes) try to mimic exactly their garbled pronunciation of names that turn out to be quite normal and familiar. So: my sympathies!

Chunk Wheeler said...

Thanks. "Bwana wahpman"? "Gwopma Fwano"?

You wann write for Dissent?


And I followed her to the station With a suitcase in my hand And I followed her to the station With a suitcase in my hand Well, ...