The package landed silently in my office mailbox. The white cardboard box and courier company label didn’t give a hint of its contents but the sender’s name and description provided a clue:
I cut the tape and opened the flap. Inside was a personalized letter with several pages of accompanying documentation.
“Dear Ms. Smith,” the letter began. Normally, that gender mistake would be enough to get the accompanying contents thrown in the garbage bin. But there was more. The letter went on to wish me a happy Valentine’s Day and asked me to consider the following poem:
“Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
What good are sweet nothings,
If your sweetie can’t hear you.”
If the errant salutation didn’t do it, a poem that bad would normally guarantee that the rest of the package’s contents would end up in the trash. But there was more. Accompanying the letter and documentation was a layer of tissue and a neatly gift-wrapped package about the size of my hand, tied with a fancy red bow.
I pressed on, carefully slipping off the bow and unwrapping my “gift.” I had an idea of what was inside. A year ago, my boss had called me into his office and showed me a similar package sent to him. Inside was a letter, accompanied by a fancy hearing-aid case. Inside the case was the shell of a behind-the-ear hearing aid. Of course, my boss didn’t know it was just a shell. He said I was the only hard-of-hearing person he’d ever known, and if the gift happened to be a valuable piece of hearing equipment, he wanted me to have it. I thanked him politely, explained that the shell was worthless and walked out with the package, quickly depositing it and all its contents in the trash.
As I continued to unwrap my gift, I realized it wasn’t a hearing-aid case after all. Instead it was a box of fine chocolates. I was reminded of the famous line from Forrest Gump: “My momma always said, ‘Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.’ ” Sweet nothings? No, I didn’t need my ears for this Valentines gift. This was something I could sink my teeth into. And so I did.
You never know what you’re going to get with hearing loss. Sometimes life will surprise you and be pretty good.