Super Phony on Spring Break

When we last left my infamous alter ego, the one and only Super Phony, he was still doing what he does best: looking like he knows what he’s doing even when he doesn’t have a blithering clue.

It takes an awful lot of effort to be the one deaf guy in a group of hearing people who don’t sign. It requires a tremendous amount of patience, skill, strategy, and yes, deception.

Although he can slip back into his normal Clark Kent, uh, Mark Drolsbaugh personality in an ASL environment, Super Phony inevitably busts out of a telephone booth at the first hint of PWDS (people who don’t sign).

Super Phony never rests in the presence of PWDS. It’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it. Even during Spring Break in beautiful Cancun, our hero is just a misunderstood word away.

And in 1988, that’s exactly what happened: Super Phony stole the show at Spring Break. Yes, around the same time some bona fide Deaf heroes changed the world during the Deaf President Now protest, Super Phony was causing mass confusion in Cancun.

While Gallaudetians were uniting for one of the biggest causes in Deaf history, Super Phony was on a remote island with hearing students from Temple University. DPN certainly had his attention, so much that it would influence him to transfer to Gallaudet himself. But for the time being, there was other work to be done.

Namely, surviving Spring Break with two thousand rowdy hearing students. Super Phony only knew about five of them, but that didn’t stop him. He went to all the parties, all the beach activities. Never mind that he rarely understood what people were saying. He was there, and he was making the most of it.

Making the most of it, when you’re Super Phony, involves smiling a lot for no reason at all. It also involves saying “yes” to questions you don’t understand. And this, of course, is what caused yet another fine mess.

Our group had sailed a party cruise to a private island just off of Cancun and a wild celebration commenced. Little did Super Phony know what he was in for.

“Hey Mark,” said Jennifer, a girl who was with the Temple University group. She pointed to a stage where a bunch of other students were lining up for an event.

“Would you like to blbshdks hdksju kssdib test?”

I couldn’t understand. I asked her to repeat.

“Would you like to blbshdks hdksju kssdib test?”

Oh, boy. I was lost. I asked for one more repeat. Again, I could not understand.

By now, three of my hearing friends were standing right behind her, giving me the thumbs up and vigorously nodding “Yes!” That was my cue. Time for SUPER PHONY! I smiled and said yes.

Next thing I knew, Jennifer grabbed my hand and dragged me towards the stage. There were about ten other couples already there and an emcee was running the show. Having watched a lot of MTV, I figured this was one of those rowdy Spring Break competitions where you do a lot of stupid but harmless stuff. Maybe it was a dirty dancing contest. Perhaps some goofy event involving water balloons, food fights, relay races, or even a burping contest. Whatever it was, I was up for it. Or was I?

Never in a million years would I have been able to guess what was going to happen next. I stood onstage like a clueless moron for five minutes as the emcee worked the crowd. Then finally, it was show time. The emcee pointed at those of us onstage and yelled, “Go!”

All of a sudden, everyone started smooching. I mean, really, really, making out. Couples were playing tongue hockey. Everyone was all hot and heavy. Grinding, groping, licking and slurping. Oh, no. Super Phony was trapped... in a kissing contest!

Super Phony stood there, horrified. He could see his pals in the first row. They were pointing at him and howling with laughter. He glanced at Jennifer, who wasn’t exactly Cindy Crawford. He didn’t even know her until ten minutes ago.

Wincing, Super Phony puckered up. Jennifer grabbed him in a bear hug and planted a wet one on his lips. But Super Phony was in a total state of shock and he reacted like a passionless rag doll. Super Phony and his kissing bandit were immediately voted off stage as the lamest couple.

“Ptooie!” I sputtered, wiping my lips off stage. “I can’t believe I got suckered into that.” My buddies were laughing so hard, tears were streaming down their faces.

But that’s cool. If anything, Super Phony is a good sport. And he never makes the same mistake twice.

Then suddenly, a voice blared over the speakers.

“Attention, Spring Breakers, attention... mooning contest at Dock Four, line up now...”

Exit Super Phony on Spring Break and return to Deaf Culture Online