I don’t think we should be so quick to pooh pooh this idea of registries, where certain groups of people are entered into a government data base so the rest of us can keep better track of who and where they are.
A lot of people talk about a Muslim registry. I think we should be talking about a deaf registry where all deaf people are required to sign up so we, the hearing majority, can keep better track of who and where they are. I think this could really promote harmony among different factions of cripples. Because what’s the point of these registries? The point is to make those of us who aren’t members of the group we think needs to be registered feel more secure about living among them. That way they can’t sneak up on us as easily and take us by surprise. Deaf people are like that. Any hearing person who has ever been to a party where there are a lot of deaf people knows what I mean. Deaf people are really sneaky in the sense that unlike most other cripples, they look perfectly sane and normal, unless they look insane or abnormal for some reason besides being deaf. So when deaf people are mixed in with a bunch of hearing people, I feel off-balance and awkward because I never know whom I can just step up to and talk to. And forgot about trying to figure out who’s deaf by who’s talking sign language. That guy talking sign language could be an ASL interpreter or a deaf person’s hearing brother or something. And whenever I talk to a deaf person I talk all rubber-faced, exaggerating my enunciation so as to make it easier for them to read my lips. I’m real considerate that way. But sometimes at a party full of deaf people I start talking to someone all rubber-faced and it turns out that person can hear and I feel like a real bozo. And then when I see that person over in a corner later talking in sign language with others, I’m convinced what they’re saying is, “That bozo over there was talking to me all rubber-faced.” So then I’m afraid to talk to anybody until I know for absolute sure if they’re deaf or not.
But suppose deaf people were all required to wear a government–issued identification marker of some sort, at least when they’re out mixing with hearing people. I know that would sure make me feel more secure around them and I’d be a lot more relaxed at their parties. The identification marker can be something stylish, like a nice necklace or bracelet. It doesn’t matter, just so it makes it clear to the rest of us that these people are deaf. And in the spirit of full inclusion, the deaf identification marker would have to emit a periodic sound, so as to be accessible to blind people. Because when blind people go to places where there are a lot of deaf people, I bet they’re as off-balance as me times a zillion. Because they can’t even see who’s talking sign language. So the only way for them to figure out who’s deaf is via audio cues. The audio cue can be something pleasant, like chirping birds. Actually, maybe not chirping birds, because then a blind person might be embarrassed to learn that they’ve been trying to talk to a parakeet. And that would make their insecurities about being around deaf people even worse. But if the sound is too irritating and grating, it may cause hearing cripples who aren’t blind to avoid deaf people altogether. So maybe the sound can be on a high frequency that only blind people can hear.
Man, promoting harmony among cripples sure is complicated.
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