MODINE'S: Hear Today, Gone TommorrowIt’s a good thing my gentleman friend Lust don’t have to live life as a bat.

I realized this while I was watching the Discovery Channel.

Bats find bugs to eat by using their sense of hearing.

Lust would starve.

And he would starve not admitting he couldn’t hear.

“Them crickets don’t CHIRP loud enough. SPEAK UP!” he would say. Before he plopped over dead.

I think ear problems are an occupational hazard of his profession, which is being a publican. This got nothing to do with politics. It means he runs a “pub,” which is European for bar.

His bar is The Sloth Lounge, and he’s been running it a long time. And each new generation that drinks in there wants the juke box to be turned up louder than the generation before it, which means Lust’s eardrums are taking more of a beating every day. It has got to the point where he has the hearing accuracy of the average fence post.

Finally, he went out and bought himself some hearing aids. But he don’t like to wear ‘em because he thinks they make him look old. I told him they actually make him look younger because they cover up the hair sprouting out his ears. But he don’t hear me.

Of course, he hears some things. It just usually ain’t what I’m saying. I read in this pamphlet at Hearing Aid City that when you got hearing problems, your mind fills in what you don’t hear with what you expect to hear.

And I know from experience that with men, what they expect to hear 99.9 percent of the time is about sex.

For instance, when I am telling a old story about how I wore this strapless dress to the prom back in high school that gave Sister Mephistophela, the principal, all kinds of  fits, Lust says “I don’t think you should talk about a nun’s tits.”

And when my old girl friend Julienne waltzes into the Sloth with the same husband she divorced five years ago, and I say in Lust’s ear, “There’s Julienne with her ex,” he says – real loud, of course, to demonstrate that I shouldn’t mumble – “SPEAK UP, MODINE. WHO’S HAVING SEX?”

Now, I know I’m far from perfect myself. I’m at the point in life where if I feel chilly, I got to decide whether to get up and put on a sweater or just wait for the next hot flash. Which means I’m past the spring chicken stage and into the been-around-the-block-a-few-times stage, if you know what I mean. And so is he.

So we got a lot in common. We both remember when we met people under the clock at Holmes’s on Canal Street, and we know that Krauss’ ladies underwear department used to be called “foundations” and it was up on the mezzanine and we both know the New Orleans Pelicans was around before the Zephyrs.

And we both got bladders the size of walnuts.

And, thank God, he don’t chase around after young girls. He says he’s glad he got all his wild oats sowed before they all started piercing and tattooing different parts of theirselves, because he don’t like no surprises.

So we’re a good match.

Except sometimes. For instance, he was nice enough to volunteer to supply the beer booth at the Re-build Celibacy Academy Spring Festival. Me and both my daughters went to Celibacy Academy, but it ain’t there no more. They are having this rebuilding festival in a field out where St. Mark’s Church used to be in Chalmette.

So the day of the festival, I go out there early with my mother-in-law Ms. Larda, to help set up for the X-treme Bingo.

Lust and my brothers-in-law, Leech and Lurch, are supposed to be there with the beer truck at noon.

And comes noon, and no beer. And comes 12:30, and still no beer. Finally, I call him on the cell phone. Now he used to say nobody ever called him on the thing, but it would be shrieking away in his pocket and he couldn’t hear it. But then I got my daughter Gladiola to set it to vibrate – and also, just in case he has set it down but ain’t touching it – to ring real loud at the same time. Instead of a regular ring tone, she downloaded the climax of the 1812 Overture, so when he hears cannons going off, he picks up the phone.

Not that this puts him in a good mood. He answers it with “WHAT?” and I yell, very sweet but also loud (a trick in itself) “WHERE ARE YOU SWEETIE? PEOPLE ARE GETTING THIRSTY!” and he says “Thursday? It’s Saturday! I’m driving around City Park is where I am. There ain’t no festival here.”

I say “It’s at St. Mark’s.”

He says “I’m AT the park.”

This could have gone on for I-don’t-know-how-long, except that I’m yelling so loud Lurch hears me from the passenger seat, and he tells Lust how to get to St. Mark’s.

Now, I don’t want to think that while they were driving around in City Park looking for the festival any of the three of them could have been also sampling the beer, but when they finally pull up at the beer booth, Lust gives me this look and I know what he means. I nod and point in the direction of the portable toilets. And he rushes off.
Sometimes you don’t need words to communicate.
I guess it must be love.