Can’t You Read?

A few months ago, I began watching another detective series offered by BritBox. I don’t even remember what it was, but what I do remember is that it took place in Scotland. As far as I’m concerned, Scots speak the English language in a way that is impossible to understand. During that same trip about which I spoke in yesterday’s blog, we visited the Edinburg castle, and as we often do, we were walking in the vicinity of a tour group. We are usually kind of happy when that happens as we can subtly hang around and act like we are looking at our brochures, and listen in for a bit. We learn something on someone else’s dime. Don’t judge. It’s not exactly cheating. Anyway, this time it didn’t matter because we literally couldn’t understand a single word he was saying because he was Scottish. Well, that’s not exactly true. Every once in a while he would use the word England in what appeared to be a joke, and everyone would laugh.

But back to my detective series. I tried to listen carefully for about half of the first episode, and finally threw in the towel. That’s why God invented closed captioning. I had never used it before, so it took me a bit of time to figure out how to master it. But once I did, it was like the angels were singing from the heavens. While I still couldn’t understand what the detective inspector was saying to the man drinking the whiskey, I could read the words. Eureka!

I began slowly, using closed captioning only if the program was filmed in Scotland or Australia. It didn’t take long, however, before I began using closed captioning for all of my British programs. There are very many accents and dialects and unfamiliar choices of words in Great Britain, (did you know that there are parts of the British Isles where they say cheers instead of hello and goodbye?) so I would find myself understanding some of the actors but not others.

My entire adult life, I have said that I can’t watch movies with subtitles because I’m too busy reading the subtitles to watch the film. That’s no longer true, thanks to my new love affair with closed captioning.

I had another eureka moment about a week ago. Bill is hard of hearing, and so he sometimes requires that television set to be really loud so that he can hear what’s being said. Because we are now sharing the house with our co-owner, my sister Jen, the loud television seemed rude.

“Hey Bill,” I said one day. “Would you find closed captioning to be annoying or helpful?”

“Very helpful,” he quickly answered.

So, we have now added closed captioning to our escalating number of senior citizen habits. Thus far, we haven’t started buying tennis shoes with velcro straps, but it’s imminent.

By the way, do you remember how I always said I should get a job as an editor for the scam emails we get that ALL have misspellings or grammar errors? I have added a potential new client: closed captioners. It’s FRAUD, people, not FRUAD.

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