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What? — By Tommy Purser

For those of you who do not have a hearing deficiency, let me give you a simple tip on how to speak around hearing challenged people like me.

Tip: When you say something and the hearing challenged person responds to your statement with “What?” repeat what you said verbatim. Don’t change what you say.

To explain, frequently the good wife says things to me that I don’t quite get. So I respond, “What?” Then she replies with a different version of what she had said.

Just yesterday, she said, “That trash stinks.”

I didn’t quite get it so I said, “What?”

She replied, “I said the trash smells.”

Of course, that wasn’t what she said. But that was an easy one. I got it. But at times it’s not so easy to interpret.

For instance: The good wife once said, “You need to call Mediacom.” I heard “Mediacom” but that was all I heard. So I replied, “What?”

She said, “I said the TV’s on the blink.”

Of course, that wasn’t what she said.

My reply, with “Mediacom” on my mind: “That’s not what you said. You said something about Mediacom.”

“You know what I meant,” she shoots back.

Other examples: “I need some dishwashing liquid.”

All I heard was liquid so I said, “What?” “I said I’m going to Wal-Mart.” Which of course was not what she said.

And sometimes she only repeats part of what she said.

Example: “There was a wreck on the Uvalda Highway.”

I heard nothing so I asked, “What?”

“A wreck!”

Or “Braydon’s game starts at 6.”

I heard nothing so I said, “What?”


How do you respond when someone says “Wreck” or “Six?” What does that mean?

It means, of course, you know what I said. Which I didn’t.

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