He strained to hear the sweet nothings that Mrs FB is wont to whisper into his ears. No more came her seductive call, 'Must you always leave your cricket bag exactly where I am going to trip over it?'
He felt isolated and alone, a latter day Beethoven, only without the symphonies.
He struggled on, and for the most part managed to cope with vigorous nodding and inane grinning. Many of his friends and colleagues did not notice the difference.
But it was on the cricket field that he faced a significant ethical dilemma - was it appropriate that he should take his usual turn umpiring in recent matches of his Carlton All Star 4th XI? For the umpire's sense of hearing is important.
|Umpiring nirvana - players just get in the way |
and make things difficult
Readers will no doubt admire the elegance of FB's solution to his difficulty and suggest that this does not address the more significant hazard. How could the Beethovenian FB detect any snick behind. FB puts his hand up (not his finger) - there was no way he could. It is as well that FB's team mates are morally pure as the driven snow and ascribe to sporting values of the highest order. They will always walk when they nick it. FB therefore felt confident that he was in the ethical clear.
However his problem got him thinking that cricket umpiring does present the highest demands on the official's senses. Although rugby or football referees have to run madly from one end of the pitch to the other while retaining enough puff to blow the whistle, the acuity of their sight and vision is not subject to similarly severe examination. Large rugby players colliding are usually fairly visible and the collision can be heard several streets away.
|Erasmus seems to be a fellow sufferer with FB|
But FB is pleased to say that his infection has cleared. Not only that but he has had his ears irrigated removing lumps of wax the approximate size of a cricket ball. He now faces another ethical dilemma - is his newly restored super acute hearing fair to his team mates. Surely there is a risk that he will now hear snicks from matches several miles away and reach a wrong decision. He is overcome with anxiety - should he stand or not?