Hey Listen
Off the Wall, October 2,

Irritation comes in many packages. Some are smaller, others average-sized, while those that remain are proportionally elongated. As one looks at it comparatively, someone is doing or saying something to some degree that is getting under one’s skin, as the saying goes.

How many times do individuals ask a question and not have an inward desire to actually stay for the answer? Has one ever found himself being sincere to another in asking about one’s family, for example, only to have the interrogator listen momentarily and then depart?

John Dudaron of Mocoho, MO, had stopped into an auto supply shop in the fair city in which he lives and purchased a gasket for his 1978 Chevrolet. After paying the cashier, the fellow behind the counter preceded to ask how his cousin was doing. Thinking a few seconds, he began to blurt out the information when the uniformed employee stated, “See you John. Have a nice day.”

Does that sound familiar? I’m sure we have all fallen into that little mind game.

Looking at it this way, if the merchant is excessively busy, than he should politely tell the customer(s) up front he doesn’t have any spare time and that he will be happy to service his requests, but talk later at the farmer’s market, or over a future cup of coffee.

In one sense, customers in a small town should like hear business is good. After all, each resident should be supporting the local trade and stay clear of the of the big chain outlets. I know it is hard these days, but that’s just the way it must be to keep businesses in one’s town thriving to the extent that they are keeping above the water level and not be drowned by bills and taxes.

On the other side of the coin is a ‘package’ belonging to Dolly Forgetta. One can tell her anything one wants, and then ask her particulars about what was just stated and she won’t have a clue as to what originally was completely said.

Her comeback, “Yeah, I heard what you said…well, maybe not all of it, but most of it.” One can count on it. Her excuse will be, “You know I have ‘WDV,’ as if one’s supposed to know what that stands for. Heck, today, three letters are thrown at the public every which way and who’s to know what any of them stand for. The way I see it, Dolly has ‘NLS,’ Not Listening Syndrome. I’m not discrediting the fact that there are people with these maladies in our society, for I am very aware of their problems, but on the other hand, it’s too easy to flag out using three letters of which others aren’t familiar.

There is a saying that goes back many years with which I practically grew up. It states, “It went right in one ear and came out the other.” That statement has been used by many, I’m sure. I know, because a relative often used it declaratively on me.

Again I ask, why tell anyone anything if he or she is going to only listen to the parts that are considered important? Now, it has to be understood that if Sally Longbreath is relating an anecdote, one should be aware that she is one long-winded individual. On the other hand, Frankie Fewords will have listened carefully to all that was spoken and repeated almost verbatim all that was told to him.

Last year, someone brought to my attention that the average person listens no more than 30 seconds at a time, and then loses patience. That’s a shame, at least as I see it, because some people have a number of things to get off their chest, and 30 seconds won’t cut it. Sometimes it take three hours and maybe more time to collectively put forth a plan of pursuit to cut through the symptoms of a problem. Resolutions then can be formed.

If we are to get along with our brothers and sisters, we as God’s children have a duty to our friends, family and neighbors to listen attentively. It is true, we may not agree with others’ philosophies or points of view, but listening is just as important if not more so than talking.

Two people may be at odds with each other and never see eye to eye. If we don’t give ‘all ears’ to someone, we may only hear half-truths, and what good is that? Hey, listen.

- Paul J. Volkmann
Contact me by email

To buy my book, Off the Wall Favorites, call me at 724-539-8850.