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The other day I bumped into a former colleague who is, shall we say, a generation younger than I am. We had a little chat – as  you do – and I told her about my new CI, and explained that it had enabled me to hear for the first time in 30-odd years.

Her response was: “That’s mad!!”

Yes, I know it’s urban slang and can mean a plethora of other things, such as “amazing”, “wicked”, “far out”, etc. Knowing the young lady concerned, as she used it so often when she worked with us, I rather suspect it tripped off her tongue without thinking, but it was almost as if the thought of me being bionic was something odd. I think she realised it herself as she then looked a bit flustered – and probably my expression might have given something away! I’m one of those unfortunate people whose expressions give away everything they’re thinking (I could never play poker).

I don’t want to give the impression that I’m a grumpy old woman (oh, go on then, I am). But – the way she said it just felt so inappropriate, and if not inappropriate in its primary sense, then because its meaning is so ambiguous. Of all the words that I’ve ever felt about my CI – “mad” doesn’t figure anywhere on the radar, in any sense. There’s no point taking offence where none is meant but it has stuck with me . . .

 

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