Who’s “hard on herrings”?

Aging black leather and hospital bills,
Tattoo removal and dozens of pills.
Your liver pays dearly now for youthful magic moments,
But rock on completely with some brand new components.

— “Rock and Roll Lifestyle,” by Cake

My generation is not going to grow old gracefully, but we will do it stylishly.

Nancy at Away With Words called my attention to a new, nearly-invisible, “personal communications assistant” from Phonak called Audéo; described as “a breakthrough for living life to the fullest, bringing back the speech understanding we can start to lose as early as in our twenties. Sleek, stylish and discreet, it’s the ultimate high-tech accessory.”

That’s their description, anyway; you might simply call it a hearing aid.

Audéo is backed by an eye-catching (and ear-supporting) print ad campaign featuring aging-but-still-edgy wearers who, you presume, would rather be run down from behind by a freight train than wear their father’s hearing aid — or even ask for one. While Audéos are nearly invisible, those parts that do show come in such cool color combos as Solar Flare and Raku Glaze, to name but a few. The Audéo concept and ad campaign are solid and creative way to market a sensitive product to an audience not quite ready to admit that they need it, similar to the way Haggar now promotes it’s slacks and in keeping with ED ads all featuring virile, hunky-looking guys with just a touch of gray.

Naturally, Audéos aren’t needed because you’re getting older; oh no, it’s simply the result of your full, active lifestyle. Personally, my full, active college lifestyle once included going to a number of rock concerts where my connections got me front and center tickets right in the cone of the speakers. A typical conversation in those days might go like this:

“Man, I saw The Tubes three days ago and they were great! My ears are still ringing!”

“Dude, that’s so cool!”


In fact, my ears are still ringing. For the last couple of years the soundtrack of my full, active lifestyle has been a steady keening sound. Nevertheless, as I type this now I can clearly hear the dehumidifier running, the hum of the computer and the distant chirping of our parakeets. If someone were to say something to me, however, my first response would probably be, “What?”

Like most things having to do with getting older I’ve simply gotten accustomed to this gradually. To lift another song lyric, “A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.” For the most part I can hear what (I think) I need to hear but there are times when I struggle to follow the conversation at Keegan’s with all the background noise and I know my daughters hear things in songs that I never catch.

So of course I entered my zipcode on the website to learn where I can find an Audéo specialist near me for trying out my own personal communications assistant. Meanwhile I look forward to more cool products coming my way, like an Xtreme Walker that converts to a street luge complete with an iPod port, or thong-style Depends. Forget the reading glasses, I want some “personal visual enhancers” and my favorite sport drink, now in prune juice flavor!

Hey — I heard that, Mall Diva!

5 thoughts on “Who’s “hard on herrings”?

  1. Hey! Was that just an arbitrary reference to an obscure 70’s band or did you actually see The Tubes in concert? I was at their concert at the Met Center in 1979. But I don’t remember seeing you. Of course you don’t strike me as the White Punks on Dope kind of guy.

  2. True – I was more a “White Punks on Busch” type, but I loved this show; it was the “What Do You Want From Live” tour in ’77 or ’78 and I saw them in Kansas City. One of the greatest concerts ever, next to Springsteen. As I recall, there were four “acts” to the show: a punk rock set (I can’t remember the name of Fee Waybill’s punk alter ego – Johnny Something); a glam rock set with Fee as Quay Luude singing WPOD and other songs in 18″ platform boots and a sparkling jockstrap (I guess my ears weren’t the only things scarred for life), a smokey, bluesy section (“La Vie en Fumer) and a more traditional pop/rock set. There was even a part where a small guerilla army took over the stage. I should download the WDYWFL album, except that my daughters would puke.

  3. Ahh. Thanks for sparking some great memories. It sounds like the tour I saw. Also, Fee was chased around by a big TV until he smashed his head into the screen. Ahh the simple things in life, like a baby’s arm holding an apple.

  4. …Iggy Pop covering his chest in peanut butter and rolling around in a pile of broken glass (San Diego in the early ’80’s), then beating himself unconscious with the mike stand…

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