How They Lost Their Hearing

by Dawn Corrigan

They’d huddle around the radio each evening, one of the older boys proudly in charge of twisting the dial away from commercials or songs that did not suit them, until he found one they liked. Then a joyous cry would ring out from whoever recognized the song first, hands would fly into the air, the boy stationed at the radio would turn the volume to 10 and they would all sing along in a cheerful croaking shout. Some of them danced a little, pairing up to do the Bump or the first few moves of the Lindy, but most were content to stand in place and stare at the radio or close their eyes as they sang all the words they knew by heart, and made them up when they didn’t. Several generations of the family grew up spending their childhood evenings this way. They became so accustomed to hearing music only through the distorted fuzz of a small radio played at top volume and the cacophony of their own voices that later, when some of them married and had a little money and went with their spouses to buy nice new stereo systems, they were astonished to hear the pristine sound quality that modern technology had made available, the perfect articulation of each voice and instrument, and disliked it. Over time they all became a little deaf.


Dawn Corrigan's fiction has appeared recently or is forthcoming at VerbSap, Pindeldyboz, Monkeybicycle, The Dream People, Rumble, 55 Words, Defenestration, and 3711 Atlantic. Her nonfiction appears regularly at The Nervous Breakdown. (Radio as Random Fate is the previous piece in this series.)