Life's not always a tidy, viral, inspiring YouTube video, the Times' John Woodrow Cox reports
On the morning he was sure his life would change forever, the man with a silver crew cut and the shoulders of a fullback sat in the quiet fluorescence of a doctor's office, his knee bouncing and his breaths long.
The door opened.
"We're ready," said a thin woman in dark slacks and a white coat. "Are you?"
"Let's rock and roll," he said.
Mike Gray, who is 44, had struggled to hear much of anything since he was a toddler. With hearing aids and by reading lips he could, in most circumstances, communicate. But his deafness had always held him back — from education, jobs, dreams. He was tired of funny looks and rolled eyes. Of saying "Pardon?" Of missing all those jokes at work, even the ones at his expense.
This year, Gray decided, he would become his best self.