LARSON: Do you hear what I hear?

Susan Larson

Susan Larson

They say one of the first signs of age shows up in your hearing. I don’t know if that means the actual physical workings of your ears go bad or if it’s a matter of what you hear or don’t hear that is the determining factor in this aging process.

For example, about 10 years ago a cashier said to me, “If you happen to be married to someone who is over 55 and you brought him shopping with you, he could use his senior discount to make purchases for you.”

Now that was real music to my ears. From that day on, wherever I shopped, I just mentioned that I was eligible for the senior discount. Invariably, I would hear the cashier say, “No way! You can’t possibly be that old!” But as years passed, I started wondering about this hearing thing, because no matter where I shopped, when I specified that I was old enough for the discount, I didn’t hear anything in reply anymore. And in the last couple of years, I’ve discovered that I don’t have to say anything at all. The cashier just automatically rings up my savings in silence. Is this part of that hearing problem people talk about?

I had a recent experience that made me question not so much whether I could or couldn’t hear, but why in the world was I hearing what I heard.

It was one of those annoying phone calls that I shouldn’t be getting because I’m on the Do Not Call List. I usually hang up. I don’t know why, but this time, since it was a real live person and not a robo-call, I stayed on the line. Maybe because I sensed I could get a column out of it.

Here it was, the day after the government shut down — and coincidentally the very week my first Social Security check was due — and I heard this guy say the federal government was rewarding people who managed their money well and that I had been selected as one of the lucky recipients. He said because I had a perfect credit score, never defaulted on a loan and our house was paid for, the government wanted to reward me with $10,200.

Now wait a minute. Just where did this guy hear all this about about my financial history? And here the government had just laid off thousands of workers due to lack of funds. Over 90 million people are unemployed and 70,000 veterans are homeless. But the government wanted to reward me with $10,200 just because I can manage money better than they can?

I heard him go on to say, “To receive your $10,200, all you have to do is give me your bank account or credit card number and we will deposit it immediately.”

Is it because of my age that I have to ask, “Am I hearing right?”

Susan Larson is a writer from Lilburn. Email her at susanlarson79@gmail.com.