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Collateral Deafness

McKinney, TX.  January. 2011

McKinney, TX. January. 2011

New Years Day 2014. The Eagle Ford never sleeps. They are rigging down on the Sidewinder rig that has been here for two months. Somebody told me it is the biggest land rig in Texas.  I can hear them slinging pipe on the Flex 5 up the way and when I poke my head out the door, no less than a dozen flare stacks are runnin’ hot out across the pucker brush.

Me and Tuco the Dog are eatin’ white powdered baby donuts one for one that the fella who washes drill pipe gave us.  I am drinkin’ coffee black.  Tuco the Dog won’t drink coffee ‘less it has cream and sugar.  I ain’t about to fix any dog coffee this morning.  Gotta draw the  line somewhere.  Ain’t even daylight yet………

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This gate guard job can slip up on ya I am thinking. The seclusion and the hermitry and the mind numbing routine creeps up on you for sure. I would liken it to being an inmate at a Gulag.    Eat.Sleep.Work.Repeat.Repeat.Repeat.       It mindf*cks you.

One of the things I sorta lost track of in the jumbled melee of dust and diesel was my hearing. I always been a little deef. Big diesels growling and race car motors screaming look like they took their toll physically. Mebbe it was loud ass rock and roll with too many big marijuanas back in the day. Just so’s you know I am way past the statute of limitations on that offense. Close as I can remember, the last doobie I picked up was sometime when Ronnie Reagan was doin’ his first term in DC. Been squared up ever since. Ahhh, damage done whatever the cause. I sorta imagine those little cochlea hairs layin’ down flat like a big ol’ F5 tornado roared straight down my ear hole. And as you know, friends and neighbors, if them little hairs is not standing up to vibrate and send hearing signals to your brain, you are SOL brother.

You ever seen SNL’s News for the Hard of Hearing? Garrett Morris would stand up behind Chevy Chase and HOLLER out the news as Chevy read it. Sorta like that at the Princess Palace and Miss K playin’  the part of Garrett. The TV going at Level 50 with the closed captions on and me still saying ‘Huh?’ or ‘What did he say?‘.  Got to the point that if Miss Kathy was talkin’ to me but not looking at me, she coulda just as soon as been talkin’ Mandarin Chinese.   Tuco the Dog would flee down the hall when we were discussin’ something.  With all the loud voices, I reckon she thought maybe she had dog-farted or done somethin’ else to offend the alpha dogs.  I got sore afraid that mebbe the next time I asked Little Blondie to turn around and look at me when she talked that the response would be a bowling ball (size 45) hittin’ me right between the eyes. Yeah, it was that bad but both of us were dumbed down gate guard fashion from sittin’ here for 8 months straight without a day off.  We had the gate guard crazies sure as hell.  You ever watch The Shining?  Well, alrighty then.

shiningAnd it mighta been, had it continued down this bad road, a story on the San Antone news about a murder/suicide in La Salle County and a custody fight over a silly little dog.  Luckily, we pulled up outta the dive just in time. It was the exit from the Caliche Cocoon and the Thanksgiving Road Trip to see the folks that woke me up.  Right out of the gate, I was strugglin’ to keep up with the conversations.  It was like everybody talking had a bed pillow strapped across their mouth.  You ever been around an oldster in a crowd and you would say somethin’ to ’em and they would just smile and grin?  You knew damned well they were in the Land of La.  Pretty much how it was with me.  I couldn’t follow a conversation well enough to participate even though I was straining every inner ear hair to the max.  Just wasn’t happening no matter how bad I wanted it. It all came to a head at Thanksgiving Dinner.

Full up of turkey and fixins’, the clan had pushed back and was enjoying boiled custard – with flavoring for those over 21.  The conversation was lively with many conversations flowing over the top of each other.  I felt like somebody had kicked me over Niagara Falls in a 50 gallon drum.  I bet I missed out on 90% of what was said.  Growed men seldom cry but it was near that frustratin’.  Something had to give.

The 'Miracle Ear'

The ‘Miracle Ear’

The whole way back to the oil patch I was figurin’  out how I was going to beat this unfortunate dealio down.  No way was I going to resign myself to La La Land with ever increasing frequency.  I poked around the interweb and come across the NewEar High Quality Digital Ear Hearing Amplifier “FDA Approved”. I figured for a few bucks it was worth a shot; the reviews looked mostly good. Miss K quickly dubbed it the ‘Miracle Ear’; I don’t know about that.  It reminds me of a 70’s something hearing aid but the rascal does work.  The TV is set at level 25 now. I reckon I might walk the wire with no net and turn the captions off too but we ain’t hardly got that good just yet.  I can understand Miss K now if she has that pretty blond head turned away from me.  Tuco the Dog loves me again.  What can I say? Life is good!

Now for less than a hunnert bucks you might be thinking it is almost too good to be true that I got the ears of a 12 year old again.  Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!  Me and the Miracle Ear are golden as long as we stay in the Princess Palace.  If I go outside with that rascal on I feel like I am being physically assaulted.  Closing the door makes me cringe from the crash.  A rattling diesel sounds like they got a clothes dryer with 5 gallon of rock in it running overspeed on the passenger seat next to ’em.  Walking on the caliche rocks sounds like I got feet like a brontosaurus.  The generator sounds like a 747 spooling up for take off. It is distinctly unpleasant and near painful.

Some reviewers of the Miracle Ear on Amazon report they got even better results from two of ’em.  I don’t know just yet if I wanna go all turbo and hang one off each ear.  Guess we will see how it shakes out.  Miss K is nicey nice and says it looks a bluetooth.   I ain’t never seen nobody wearin’ two bluetooths.  Mebbe New York City; not down here!

 

End note: Rollin’ By by Robert Earl Keen from No. 2 Live Dinner.  Been an End Note before; reckon it will be again.

 

 

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Collateral Deafness, 9.1 out of 10 based on 14 ratings
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7 comments to Collateral Deafness

  • Nancy Klune

    They got them fancy hearin’ trumpets on Amazon for $59.63.
    Might have to try one. I have the start of ‘profound’ hearing loss. What ever tha heck that is.

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    • Andrew

      Nancy,

      Price a prescription hearing aid. Makes the ol’ ‘Miracle Ear’ look pretty snappy.

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  • Richard

    “I sorta imagine those little cochlea hairs layin’ down flat like a big ol’ F5 tornado roared straight down my ear hole.” Yep, happened to me to the day I shot the Hawkin black powder inside the barn without laying the muzzle out the window. Can ya hear me now?

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  • I think I like my hearing loss…..so much noise these days…lol

    It seems my ears ring for 2 or 3 days after I ride the Triumph into town…..that enough for me.

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  • PapaTony

    Welcome to my world! I have TWO a dem ‘skripshun miracle ears … had to get ’em when I got my post-retirement job … Hate to sound like a commercial, but I really didn’t know how much I was missing! If you do get “the real thing,” be aware you’re probably going to need several return trips for adjustments in the beginning, so it might be good idea to wait til your job takes you closer to a good-size town before pulling the trigger… free advice, for what its worth…

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  • joel

    I don’t know what I’d do if I lost my hearing. Music is such a huge part of my life. I have to hear the traffic when I’m cycling. And I’d rather respond to my wife’s verbal admonition than a rolling pin.

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    • Andrew

      It is one of those deals that you don’t realize how much you will miss it until it is gone.

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