The other morning I sat at the breakfast table, eating my eggs and toast, reading the morning paper, while the television provided its ever-present background noise. Suddenly I was startled as a snippet of dialogue from an ad on TV wiggled its way to the front of my brain. A gentleman was confessing to the world that he and his wife maintain their health by taking a leak every day. Say WHAT?
I quickly looked up to see if perhaps it was a commercial sponsored by the American Urological Association. Instead, I watched a handsome older man lovingly drape his arm around his wife while they promoted a product called Garlique, which they take every day to maintain a healthy life and healthy heart.
At first I was relieved that daytime television had not become quite so crude as I feared, but then, even more worrisome, I began to wonder, when did my ears get so old?
Although island living is bringing about some changes in my life, I can’t blame all my misheard conversations on the sounds of surf, construction noises, and island breezes that turn my ears into mini wind tunnels. I have, however, learned to keep my mouth shut unless I’m absolutely certain about what was said to me.
I was recently embarrassed to discover I had mistaken a friend’s plan to visit Jiffy Lube one afternoon for an “enhancement” trip to a plastic surgeon. When I ran into her the following week, I noted to myself that she certainly didn’t get her money’s worth, in my opinion, despite the fact she said she had a coupon. It wasn’t until I tactfully asked about her surgery, and she returned from changing her underwear after 5 minutes of uncontrollable laughing, that she explained she’d had a lube job, not a boob job.
On the bright side, though it leads to quite a bit of confusion, mishearing makes life much more amusing. Between my father and I, we can go back and forth on a subject for twenty minutes or more before we finally give up, neither of us sure what the other was trying to say.
A prime example was daddy’s first trip to Peg Leg Pete’s a few months ago for his birthday.
“Would you like to try Peg Leg Pete’s tonight, daddy?”
“Peg Leg Pigs?”
“No, daddy, Peg Leg Pete’s. It’s a good restaurant.”
“Peg Leg Peeps?”
“No, daddy, I said PEG LEG PETE’S.”
“Well, I don’t know, I’ve never seen one.”
In Tennessee any menu that offers fish generally gives you a choice of fried catfish or fried catfish, unless, however, you find a restaurant that imports fish from the Bucksnort Trout Ranch in West Tennessee. Peg Leg Pete’s, on the other hand, offered fish specials that immediately made daddy suspicious.
“One of our specials tonight is grilled Wahoo,” the friendly waitress offered.
“Yah Hoo?” asked daddy, looking totally confused because he knew darn well that Yahoo was mother’s Internet home page.
“And we have Mahi Mahi,” the waitress continued.
As daddy got more frustrated, I sadly glimpsed a life full of Yahoo and Mighty-Mighty waiting just around the corner for me considering the state of my own hearing.
“And we also have oysters,” said the waitress who finally decided to back off the fish menu and try another tact.
The mention of oysters immediately banished all of daddy’s doubt and confusion. “No, no. I don’t want no oysters. The last time I had them I vahmucked for three days!”
“Daddy! Too much information,” I whispered across the table as the waitress decided to give us time to think about our order and quickly headed to the opposite end of the restaurant looking slightly nauseated herself.
“Well, I did! This old boy and me were over in Raleigh, North Carolina several years back and he said I had to try them raw oysters. I didn’t want to, but I’d had ‘em deep fried and golden up at the old Dinty Moore’s restaurant back home and liked ‘em, so I said okay. I’d try me some”
“What happened,” I asked. “Did you get bad oysters?”
“Noooooo. He ordered up a big ol’ platter and sucked ‘em down and ordered some for me. I didn’t like ‘em too well, but I was eatin’ ‘em to be nice. Then this ol’ girl came over and brought him another plate of those things. I happened to look up and saw her and she had this bad eye that looked like it was turned around backwards and all filmed over. I looked at that eye and looked back at them oysters. Hoooooooeeee. I leaned over and asked him real quiet like if he saw her eye. He said “Yeah,” and kept on slurping down them oysters.
“Well, let me tell you, I got so sick that I vahmucked for three days and I ain’t had an oyster since.”
By the end of daddy’s tale, tears were rolling down my cheeks from laughing so hard. Ironically, and I swear on any waiter working at Peg Leg Pete’s that night, two tables behind us sat a lady with an eye patch over her left eye, grinning up a storm as she slurped down her oysters.
Daddy eventually ordered the fried grouper and I had the grilled Mighty-Mighty…I mean Mahi Mahi. And we talked about his birthday present to himself that day, a Golden Age Passport that he bought at Ft. Pickens for ten dollars, which gives him a lifetime entrance pass to national parks, and all the fishing he can handle.
It was a good day.
“So, daddy, do you want to stop by Sidelines and see what they’ve got for dessert?”
“No, SIDELINES, daddy. It’s a sports bar.”
“Well I don’t want to go to no bar.”