The Secret Deafie: The day I misheard my A-Level results… again and again

Posted on August 26, 2014



The Secret Deafie is a regular column about deaf experiences submitted anonymously by different contributors. If you have a story you’d like to tell, just email thelimpingchicken@gmail.com

A-level results tend to dominate headlines around this time of year.

For me, it always triggers an embarrassing and painful memory that I still blush about now, 26 years later.

After finishing my exams and leaving school, I spent a summer working in a Butlins summer camp as a chalet maid. I had only done two A-levels, so I wasn’t really worried about them to begin with.

I didn’t enjoy the work, but I liked the cameradie in my cleaning team.

By early August, my friends had gone and I was on my own. I had plenty of time to obsess about the future and my A-level results.

I only needed two Ds to get into my preferred college and I dreaded to think what would happen if I didn’t get them.

The results day came. It was in the news, everywhere (yes, even in 1988 we had pictures of pretty joyous smiling A level students).

Being stuck in Skegness, I queued for the telephone box every spare hour to ask my parents if The Envelope had arrived. It hadn’t, but they suggested I phone the school and gave me the number.

I phoned the school and asked them to reverse the charges. I didn’t really want to, but I was only earning £50 for a six day week and most of that went into my college savings fund.

First of all I spoke to a woman. I told her my name and said I hadn’t had my results yet.

What followed was a very awkward conversation: the most common word was ‘pardon’ and ‘what’.

Suddenly there was a exasperated sigh and the next thing I knew, I was speaking to a man with a distinct Manacurian accent. It was the headmaster.

“Can I have my A-level results please?” I squeaked. My heart was thumping..

“You have two Bs”

Better than I expected!

I repeated to make sure:

“Two Bs?!”

“No, you have two Cs.”

“Oh, two Cs?”

I gasped, slightly disappointed, but still pleased.

“No, no, no… You have two Ds.”

Just as predicted, but still enough to get into my college.

“Two Ds?”

“No, no, no… you have two Es.”

Misery gripped my heart.. “I have two Es?”

He sighed with relief, “Yes, that’s right. Two Es.”

Needless to say I didn’t get into my college. I went somewhere else instead.

I enjoyed my time there, and and have done quite well career-wise.

While I am no longer bothered by my mediocre grades, I still remember that telephone conversation with embarassment.

My hearing loss and inability to distinguish between sounds created a situation that would have never have happened if I was hearing.

The end! 😉

The Secret Deafie is a regular column about deaf experiences submitted anonymously by different contributors. If you have a story you’d like to tell, just email thelimpingchicken@gmail.com

The Limping Chicken is the UK’s deaf blogs and news website, and is the world’s most popular deaf blog. It is edited by Deaf journalist and filmmaker Charlie Swinbourne.

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