Tuesday, April 04, 2017

O. Henry (in reverse)

In O. Henry's The Gift of the Magi, a poor couple grapple with what to give each other for Christmas. Each has a prized possession, the wife has beautiful long hair, the man has a gold pocket watch. He pawns the watch to buy her decorative combs for her hair. She sells her hair to purchase a chain for the watch.

My mom was always hard of hearing but it got worse over the years. An obvious solution would have been for all of us to have learned sign language--she took some lessons, but nobody else did. Instead, she worked at lip reading and that plus the bit of hearing she had was enough to get by. Later, technology came along (cochlear implants) which enabled pretty normal hearing.

As fate would have it, an odd thing has happened. My dad is losing the power of speech--I am not sure the cause, but his voice is reduced to a whisper. Now, even a person with normal hearing has difficulty making out what he is saying. Sign language seems an obvious answer. If he had learned it 40 years ago, he would be pretty good at it by now. Bygones. Still, learn a few basic words and phrases like, "could you pass the X" or "I'm tired and going to bed" etc. and there will be a big incentive to expand vocabulary.

No comments: