My oldest son Tommy loves music, which is fine. He also loves wearing his iPod ear buds all day and night, which is not.
When I call him to come down to dinner, he doesn’t hear me. I have to walk into his room, and wave my arms in front of his face to get his attention. As you might imagine, that can become slightly annoying.
Tommy also brings his headphones with him wherever he goes. I have had many, many, many discussions with him about this, and how rude it is for him to wear his headphones in public, and after much debate we finally came to a compromise. He could wear one ear bud, but not both of them. I figured that one ear was better than none.
That little agreement eliminated the most egregious offenses (like the time he worked for me at a golf outing collecting money, and answering everyone’s questions with “WHAT? What did you say?”), but he looks ridiculous with one ear bud dangling, and he still can’t hear what people are saying to him if they happen to be standing on the wrong side of his head.
They always say to pick your battles, and after battling this one for years, I lost the will to battle it any further. This past week, however, I think we may have turned a corner.
We were in the doctor’s examining room awaiting the return of the nurse.
“Please take off your headphones so you can answer her questions,” I asked him.
“I can hear her just fine,” he said, pointing to his one dangling headphone.
Just as he said that, the nurse walked into the room, and I got out of her chair to walk to the other side of the room. I made one final appeal to Tommy as the nurse looked over his paperwork.
“Please take off your headphones so you can answer her questions,” I said again. “You may not understand what she is asking you otherwise.”
“I AM NOT PICKING MY NOSE!” he said angrily.
When the nurse heard this exchange, she laughed out loud. I laughed even harder. When Tommy figured out that we were laughing at him and not with him, he turned bright red.
“You didn’t say that, did you?” he said sheepishly as he slid halfway down the chair in embarrassment and shame.
“No I didn’t,” I responded.
He took off both of his headphones, and put them in his pocket.
Haven’t seen them in public since.