Living with hearing loss. My friends, I have to tell you that I have learned long ago that it is much better to laugh at yourself than to get upset when your ears fall short. Besides I’ve tried the depressed, isolated, and “I surrender” route. It isn’t fun and it is lonely. It serves no purpose, nor makes a difference. Continuing to reach out, work hard, and laugh at yourself when needed, is much more productive – and life changing!
Although my classes sometimes have students my age or older in them, the majority of the classes I teach are mid-day so my students are “regular”, college-aged, young adults. I have two young adults living at home while they complete their education. I knew BEFORE I began teaching at a local community college that I don’t know the “lingo”. I don’t think they even CALL it “lingo”. But I digress…
I’m constantly being made aware that I “don’t get it” when students (or my children) use current idioms, slang, or acronyms. I not only have to ask for clarification, but I often need these things EXPLAINED to me. “Gullible” and naive have been terms to describe me since I was knee high to a skeeter. (Yeah… something else I seem to be proficient at is mixing my colloquial expressions!)
So this past week when a student I was working with to assist in getting caught up after being out sick? Well the fact that I misheard them AND missed their acronym is not a big stretch – let me tell you!
“So I’ll work with you to get you caught up. This will be a hard week, but you can do it!” I said with my best cheerleader professor voice.
“A soy meal.” the overwhelmed student replied.
I looked at them quizzically for a moment and repeated, “A SOY MEAL?” (I learned long ago to just go ahead and repeat what I thought I heard to help the other person, 1) learn how things sound to ME, and 2) help them understand the part I need repeated – so as to not require a repeat of the whole story).
With deliberate pauses the student repeated, “S. O. M. L. Snoring on my light”.
Stumped and exasperated, but determined to get it right I repeated, “S.O.M.L. — Snoring on my light? Like a “Clap On” gadget?”
The student’s eyes bugged out and there was a pause. Chloe, my service dog, looked from one petrified person to the other. She yawned and settled into a down-stay. “Girl friend” has been here before and knew it was gonna take awhile…
“Professor Portis! I have NO idea what you are talking about. I never said anything about a gadget! S.O.M.L. It means “Story of My Life”. The student had that “deer in the headlight” look at this point. Who says young adults don’t have the guts to see a difficult conversation to the end? They continued, “You know… it means my life is always like this!”
It took me a moment or two. After all there is a teeny tiny delay in what I hear to what I process anyway! “Oh. STORY OF MY LIFE. Got it…”
With relief the student gathered their things and proceeded to attempt ESCAPE. A twinkle in their eye and a deliberate pause to get my attention, she looked at me in the face and clearly intoned, “Snoring on my light. You are a hoot, Professor Portis!”
Without missing a beat I retorted, “S.O.M.L.!”
© 2013 Personal Hearing Loss Journal