TCNJ Magazine: Spring 18

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12 The College of New Jersey Magazine Heard on campus Luke Aboff finds success by listening to the voices in his head. By Luke Aboff '20 P R A I R I E E S S A Y my childhood from elementary school through high school. I also endured harsh glares from my triplet brother and sister who wanted the crazy lady back in the house before friends on the bus saw her. EARLY ON, MY PARENTS suspected I had problems hearing because I constantly asked people to repeat what they said. At 4 years old, I was diagnosed with bilateral sensorineural hearing loss, meaning I have moderate-to-severe A S AN ADOLESCENT, I often viewed my parents as despots who created pointless rules. Go to bed at a regular time. Clean your room. Finish your dinner before you leave the table. Too young to under- stand that they were instilling in me responsible values, I only saw them as amateur Titos or Atatürks forcing me to do things I didn't want to do. And the worst rule of all: Wear your hearing aids at all times. So harsh that even as a college student, this rule is at the root of my most morti- fying and recurring nightmare — my mother tracks me down in a large lecture hall and stops the professor mid-sentence to inquire if her son has his hearing aids on. The nightmare stems from the daily encounter I had with my mother as I waited for the school bus. Every morning like clockwork, I spied my mother, clad in a pink polka-dot robe-and-pajamas ensemble, barreling down the driveway requesting proof I was wearing my unobtrusive aids, chiding that they did no good if they were in the bottom of my bookbag. You read that right — every day of

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