The value of things

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Local News

July 13, 2018 - 11:00 PM

Pawnbroker Mike Hook is learning new ways to communicate after losing his tongue to cancer. REGISTER/RICK DANLEY

In place of the usual hello, Mike Hook, the veteran pawnbroker and manager of DM Past and Present, has a phrase prerecorded on his mobile phone, which he plays when a customer first enters his small Iola shop. The audio is of a woman’s voice, tinny, robotic — it’s the standard issue voice of Google Translate, in fact — and it’s one of the few ways remaining for Hook to sever, if only momentarily, the vast silence into which circumstance has plunged him.

CUSTOMER [enters store, sound of door chimes]: “Hello. Hot day, huh?”

MIKE [seated behind the counter, reaches for his phone, hits play]: “Sorry,” the automated voice intones, “I’m not trying to be rude but I lost my tongue to cancer a few weeks ago.”

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