Deaf Militant in Training
Live from the Deaf Militant Underground Training Facility in Souix Falls, SD, we bring you a shocking picture that proves—
Sorry, I couldn’t resist.
Relax, folks, it’s just my daughter Lacey. And she’s hearing so I don’t think she’ll be leading the Deaf Panthers down Pennsylvania Avenue
But what really happened is incredibly funny.
My oldest child, Darren, now age 9, is still coming to terms with his metamorphosis from hearing to deaf. He started going noticeably deaf
around age 7 and now has an ASL interpreter at his school.
He also has two hearing aids and isn’t particularly fond of them. If he’s not wearing them at school there’s usually someone who reminds
him to put them back on. This has recently started to get on his nerves.
On one Friday evening Darren finally broke down and vented:
“They FORCE me to wear my hearing aids at school! I don’t like it!”
I asked Darren why he doesn’t like his hearing aids.
“They hurt my ears. What do I need them for? I understand everything through sign language.”
I smiled and told him I understood. Back in my day, when I used to walk five miles in the snow to attend school with my good buddy
Abe Lincoln, hearing aids were an annoying inconvenience. They made things louder, yes, but I couldn’t understand anyone any better.
It was like amplified chaos piercing my brain.
“Look,” I said. “They’re not forcing you. They really think it helps and they just want what’s best for you. But if it’s really
uncomfortable, go ahead and leave them home on Monday. If they ask, tell them I said it’s okay.”
Darren seemed relieved and that should have been it. But noooooo, it was Friday night. And we live in North Wales, PA, a.k.a. Deaf Wales.
Several deaf people live in the area and sometimes we convene on Friday nights. On this particular evening there was a small gathering at
Next thing you know, a group of deaf adults--no, make that deaf role models--are sharing stories about how they had to wear
hearing aids during their school days, like it or not (mostly not). This alone was an evening’s worth of laughs.
One of my friends immediately pointed out that our Deaf Wales group isn’t too shabby as far as role models go. Almost all of us have
college degrees. We have or have held jobs including coordinator of a national disaster preparedness program, director of IT for an
up-and-coming videophone provider, instructor at an Ivy League university, teacher, publisher, firefighter, construction company foreman,
newspaper columnist, baseball coach, restaurant manager, and more.
Yes, there are those of us who may benefit from one form of amplification or the other—but as the Deaf Wales group has shown,
amplification is not a prerequisite for success. It’s an individual preference.
That said, Darren was satisfied. You’d think that was enough. But noooo, my friends and I have been known to go overboard sometimes.
Instantly, in a great-minds-think-alike mindmeld where we thought of exactly the same thing at the same time, Sarah McDevitt (yes, that’s
Deaf Firefighter Neil’s wife) and I simultaneously yelled “DEAF POWER!” and did the old hand-over-ear, raised fist salute. Everyone
broke out laughing, including Darren. (Isn’t it great to have healthy role models like this?)
Well, that was that. Or so we thought. We went about finishing our dinner at the table when all of a sudden…
We glanced over at 2-year-old Lacey and couldn’t believe our eyes. She had been paying attention to the entire conversation. And there
she was, in full Deaf Power salute, fist raised and everything.
”DEPP POWDER!” she screamed again.
My wife Melanie couldn’t resist. She got the camera and took a few pictures of Lacey’s sudden support on behalf of Depp Powd, uh,
A few weeks later, Lacey is still going strong with these spontaneous militant outbursts. She’ll do it out of the blue, unprovoked, and at
the weirdest times. We’ve created a monster. Sometimes she’ll disrupt a quiet moment and actually startle us with a loud—
This girl is on a mission. Gallaudet, lock your doors.
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