RUSH: As most of you know, I have the most beautiful little cat. It’s an Abyssinian cat. (interruption) What? Oh. There’s the Dittocam. Sorry. See, I told you, I’m not all here yet. He’s whispering: “You didn’t turn the Dittocam on.” You know, I have been deaf for ten years, and people still don’t treat me as though I’m deaf. They whisper. They speak in my wrong ear. You know, losing your hearing, having a hearing loss, that’s the only disability that makes people mad at you. People don’t get mad at people that can’t see. They don’t get mad at people that can’t walk. They don’t get mad at people that can’t taste or smell anything. But you get mad at people that can’t hear ’cause you can’t relate to it. You think if the person would just listen better, or pay more attention, that they’d be able to hear. And it doesn’t work that way. When you can’t hear, you can’t hear.
Snerdley’s in there whispering. He knows I’m deaf. Every day, “Would you get closer to the microphone so I can hear you?” and I’m sure he’s mad at me because I don’t hear him. You people have no idea. My friends on the golf course whisper to me — whisper! When there’s nobody within 150 yards, they’re still whispering to me, in the wrong ear. And half the time, folks, you know, it’s really funny. My speech comprehension, when I first got this implant, it was 80%, and it’s gotten worse because of the vagaries of the technology. I don’t want to bore you with how it works, but I’ve had to turn off some of the innards because they cause facial ticks when I turn the volume up. So my speech comprehension is getting worse. It’s down to 50% now.
I can’t tell you the number of times, like we were away not long ago, a little mini-weekend vacation at the hotel, and I didn’t understand 10% of what the room service guy would say or the maid. I had no clue what they were saying, and I didn’t want to take the time to tell them I can’t hear, so I said, “Yes, thank you,” and they’re looking at me like I’m an idiot. I just assume everybody’s complimenting me and I say thank you when I don’t know what they’re saying. It works most of the time, but when it doesn’t work you get the weirdest looks. So, anyway, really, it’s the only disability where people get mad at you.
Anyway, my beautiful little cat, Punkin, I assume is gonna be 11 years old, and as you people who have cats know, the older they get, the needier they get. And as they get older, of course, they need more medical attention from the cat doctor, the veterinarian. We have a specialist. You ought to read the reports I get. “When Punkin presented yesterday.” “Our patients are very happy with this new arthritis drug.” They’re talking about my cat! Our “patients” are very happy — (laughing)
Anyway, Punkin’s had some urinary tract problems lately. We had to send her to the vet. She has crystals forming in her bladder that make her think she has to urinate all the time, when she doesn’t. It’s a very disheartening thing to see. The little cat thinks she has to urinate when she doesn’t. So I have to give her antibiotics. We were away from home, as I told you last week, for about five days. What happens, when I get back after being gone for five days, I can’t shake the cat. And last night, honest, the cat was in my face, on the pillow, head-butting me, demanding to be paid attention to, petted, all night.
In the midst of that, I’m having the craziest dream. I’m living in Pittsburgh, my security guy turned on me, is shooting at me. A bunch of ex-girlfriends are taking everything out of the house. Just the craziest thing, and I’m not even asleep when this is happening. (laughing) I’m having an awake dream because Punkin is sitting there not leaving me alone. And finally at 4:30 I said, “Punkin, we’re gonna have to do something about this.” So I got up, and I opened the shades to make sure I would wake up.
The sun gets me up ’cause when you’re deaf, you don’t hear alarms. That’s another thing people get mad at you about. So I got back in bed and Punkin is waiting for me on the pillow. (big sigh) Poor Kathryn, I mean, you can imagine. Anyway, that’s basically it. I mean, the cat was just all over me. Not wanting to be fed. Just a combination of mad at me for abandoning her, and wanting constant attention. It’s like I’ve always said, this cat’s been one of the greatest… no, wait, never mind. That will just get me in trouble if I say that again now.