The Old Coot is going deaf

An oldie but a goodie. It’s been in the closet for seven years; time to let it out again.

My hearing is going to pot! And, it’s not an old age thing either. I figured out what’s causing it. Hand dryers! The kind you find in public restrooms. Usually with a sign extolling the advantages of electric dryers over paper towels. 

“They save paper (natural resources) and prevent the spread of germs.” Bull! It’s cheaper. Plain and simple! I hate these things. Their whine is so high-pitched it damages your hearing. I can’t hear the croak of bullfrogs or the honking of geese because that section of my hearing range has been wiped out. 

These torture machines are especially hard on old coots. We’re exposed to the noise a lot more than normal humans because our bladders have the same capacity as a ten-dollar bottle of eye drops, half an ounce. It’s a defect in the genetic code. When we sign up for Social Security, the old-coot gene kicks in. It shrinks our bladders, makes our joints creaky, our eyes itchy. 

The latter is why I know the cost of a smidgen of eye drop solution; I buy a lot of it. People complain about the price of gas but it’s nothing compared to the price of eye drops. Do the math: a one-half ounce bottle is $10. It takes 256 bottles to make a gallon, bringing the cost to over $2,500. And we worry about gas companies ripping us off!   

Old coots spend half their time in public restrooms, drying their hands. We’re acutely aware of how lousy these torture machines are. We wash our hands and get in line for the dryer. It’s a long wait. 

The guy at the head of the line pushes the button and starts the process. It takes a full minute to dry his hands in the lukewarm air that screams from the nozzle. Most men don’t have the patience to wait their turn. They take one look at the old guys in line, shrug in disgust, wipe their hands on their shirts and walk out. Old coots can’t. If we don’t dry our hands they get so chapped we have to buy Corn Huskers lotion by the gallon. Medicare doesn’t cover eye drops; it doesn’t cover Corn Husker’s. We’d go bankrupt if we skipped the hand dryer.  

Every once in a while, I forget what I’m doing in public restrooms and splash water on my face. That’s usually when I discover the dryer only blows in one direction. Straight down! I can’t swivel the nozzle to get the air to blow toward my face. I get down on my knees, tilt my head toward the ceiling, lift my hands to direct the flow of air to my face and close my eyes so they don’t dry out. People entering the restroom take one look at this praying spectacle and run for their lives. Eventually, I get dried off and leave the place. 

A few more sections of my hearing get damaged. Now, it’s not just the croaks and honks of frogs and geese that are lost to me. I also can no longer hear the sound of someone saying, “Hey! It’s so good to see you! You look so young and healthy!” At least I think that’s what happened, because I never hear it anymore.  

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