Selective Hearing and Modern Day Phone Scams


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As you get older, one clear advantage is mastering the art of selective hearing. It’s like having a built-in defense mechanism against the less pleasant aspects of life.

In simple ‘old school’ terms, need a break from unsolicited advice or an unwanted chore? Just respond with, “What was that? I didn’t quite catch it,” and enjoy the blissful silence!

Imagine this: You’re at a family gathering, and your nephew is going on about his latest video game achievement for the tenth time. Instead of nodding along, you can strategically “mishear” and ask him to repeat it. Chances are, he’ll get tired of explaining and move on, leaving you in peace.

Or picture this: Your spouse is hinting that the lawn needs mowing or the garage needs cleaning. A simple, “Sorry, did you say something about dinner?” can smoothly redirect the conversation to something more appealing.

Selective hearing isn’t just about evading chores or repetitive stories; it’s also a great way to dodge uncomfortable topics. If someone brings up a touchy subject like politics or diet plans, you can pretend you didn’t hear and steer the conversation towards more neutral, enjoyable territory. Embracing this advantage can turn those tricky moments into opportunities for a little peace and quiet, all while keeping a pleasant smile on your face. So, next time you hear something you’d rather not deal with, remember: “Sorry, I didn’t catch that” can be your best friend!

But what about the person who would never do that. Like you and me. Life to us is about engagement.

For those who cherish every moment of engagement and connection, getting older brings different, equally valuable advantages. Instead of using selective hearing, you might find joy in deepening your interactions and using your experience to foster meaningful conversations.

As you get older, you have a wealth of experiences and stories that can enrich your engagements with others. Your perspective can offer wisdom and insights that younger folks might not have considered. Imagine sharing your life lessons and seeing that spark of understanding in someone else’s eyes—it’s a powerful way to connect.

For instance, when your nephew is excitedly sharing his video game achievements, you might not fully grasp the game, but you can engage with his enthusiasm. Asking questions about why he loves the game and what skills he’s developing can lead to a deeper conversation and show that you value his interests.

Similarly, when your spouse mentions chores or plans, you can turn it into a collaborative effort. Instead of dodging the task, suggesting, “Let’s tackle the garage together this weekend, and maybe we can have a barbecue afterward,” transforms a chore into a shared activity that strengthens your bond.

And when touchy subjects come up, your experience can guide the conversation towards understanding and empathy. Engaging in thoughtful, respectful discussions about differing viewpoints can enrich both your perspective and those of others. It’s a chance to bridge gaps and foster mutual respect.

For those who thrive on engagement, the art of deep listening and meaningful interaction is a priceless gift of getting older. It’s about finding joy in every conversation, building connections, and making every moment count.

Old Doc says, “Life is designed to be enjoyed. Engagement with others amplifies the enjoyment.” But, we live in a world of ‘mistrust’ which is often driven by instinct, not necessarily based on specific evidence. In a world deeply seated in suspicion of the unknown, be it a person or a thing, we recoil, shut out many engagement opportunities. My mother would see these situations as missed opportunities, that there is something to be learned from everyone, from everything God puts in front of us.

Example of what I see as a ‘mutual’ missed opportunity: I learned through casual conversation about an elderly entertainer living in my hometown. His reported background puts him in an exiting era of entertainment, both stage and tv. He worked with some huge names including Durante and Gleason; a lot of his stage time ‘in the lights’ was in Miami. I smell an interesting story so I search the internet and discover his local contact information and call him to hopefully arrange an interview. I hear about how much he enjoys talking about his showbiz glory days and has lots of precious memorabilia to share. The gentleman is in his nineties.

He answers my call not with “Hello,’ but with a gruff “Who are you!” My caller id reveals a person from a different area code than the “Land of Cotton,” so there could be built-in mistrust. My honest, friendly response of, “Well, sir, you don’t know me yet, but…” to the unexpected question, was a fumble. He interrupted before I could state the purpose of my call, with, “Well, if I don’t know you, why are you bothering me!” (click).

It’s ‘selective hearing’ gone haywire. The anxiety and mistrust surrounding phone calls from unrecognized numbers are emblematic of a larger trend of skepticism and caution in an interconnected yet uncertain world.

We can thank our largest companies for creating and exhausting every opportunity to take another dollar from someone through scams and fraud, contributing to privacy concerns with their schemes to exploit personal information for their own gain, through unsolicited marketing calls, technological advances that can even mask the identity of the person calling. There is an erosion of trust resulting in a disconnection of the population, instead of interconnectedness.

My previous statement blames huge corporations for this problem when actually these schemes, pre-AI, were developed by people. But as we know, companies ARE people, aren’t they.

Excelsior, friends. My ears are always open. You can trust Old Doc Granger. I would never veer from my mother’s insistence on honesty and forthrightness in dealing with others, knowingly.

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