Volume 35 Issue # 1 Winter
In His Own Words… ALDA’s New President Rick Brown
Last December, “I got to Kansas City on a Frid’y. By Sattiday, I’d larned a thing or two. Up to then, I didn’t have an idee, of whut the whole modren world was comin’ to.” Okay, with apologies to Rodgers and Hammerstein for stealing their line in the song “Everything’s up-to-date in Kansas City” from the musical, “Oklahoma,” I can say the visit to K.C. was outstanding!
I went as part of a booster group of Wisconsin Badgers basketball fans, who’s team was playing the College Hall of Fame tournament at the time. I loved visiting there, and I am saying this even though my Badgers lost both games they played. The museums were wonderful, the food superb, and the people were very friendly. It was an easy town to get around. Kansas City is indeed up-to-date. I really, really think you should plan to go to ALDAcon 2019. The new board would love to meet all of you. And the social atmosphere at our conventions has always been second to none. Plus, we learn so much about not only who we are but how innovations in technology can improve our daily lives. If you are on the fence about going, please consider this to be a serious nudge. You will be glad you did.
The new ALDA Board is feeling its way as it moves forward. One of the things we want to do as an organization is to grow in membership. We also need to create revenue so that we can hire paid staff. Right now, all the work we do is volunteered. We do this as a labor or love for ALDA. But if we can ever get a paid staff member who is savvy with fundraising and obtaining sponsors, we will forge a bigger name on the map. What will this mean for us? Plenty. With sponsorships and revenues, our convention sites can be bigger and better and include volume hotel rates decreases. We would get bigger exhibitor halls and more exhibitors. And we would get to meet so many more people who are like us.
One of things I am most proud of is that this organization is front-and-center in advocating for captioning in movie theaters, live theater, and public events. Under the guidance of John Waldo, we have been successful all over the United States. We want that to continue.
Please consider volunteering your time. But most of all, please make it to Kansas City this October. As Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote; “Everthin’s Like a Dream in Kansas City, it’s better than a Magic Lantern Show.”!
Meet the ALDA 2019 Board of Directors
President: Rick Brown
Past President: Sharaine Robertson
Vice President: Cynthia Moynihan
Secretary: Kim Mettache
Treasurer: Matt Ferrara
Region 1: Wendy Ting
Region 2: Tina Childress
Region 3: Debbe Hagner
Region 4: Michelle Yook
The Emphasis on Empathy – My 1st ALDAcon
Empathy, as described in Merriam Webster online, is “the feeling that you understand and share another person’s experiences and emotions: the ability to share someone else’s feelings.” I realize now that it was the unambiguous empathy that allowed me to thoroughly enjoy the conference. It is no longer a mystery on why ALDA members continue to attend the annual conference, and are just as excited to attend year after year.
Last October I attended my first ALDAcon. It was a radically intense bonding of new friendships that left me with everlasting fulfillment. My new friendships, that I also now call “my tribe”, were nothing short of spectacular accumulations of the kindness and gentleness in the highest sense. Days after I returned home, bouts of nostalgia would surface with vivid memories of the joy, fun, and laughter I experienced. I pondered on the exact ‘magic’ that created the over abundant delight during the conference. After all the many conferences I have attended over the years, both for work and for pleasure, I could not put my finger on what made this one SUPER SPECIAL…MAGICAL!
ALDAcon provides a soothing oasis, permeated with safe space that truly promotes authentic inclusiveness for the benefit, and to the detriment of all attendees, including spouses, vendors, and outside presenters. I was light-hearted and merry when I did not have to “fake” hearing well. I was able to bypass anxiety if I did not hear a word or a few. I was able to relish my HoH self, in all its awkwardness and blocks of muteness, and to fully dive in and engage, despite the ever-present errors in my communication.
ALDAcon beckoned comfort to enable an ease in meeting strangers, offering a celebration to rejoice in camaraderie. For once, I was consumed in an environment that did not try to deflect my hearing loss or try to identify an on-the-spot solution to assuage the discomfort of those conversationalists who had the fortune of hearing well.
If you have yet to attend an ALDAcon, it is worth the experience. You will experience nothing short of empathetic vibrations intersected with kindness, resources, and love. Do not take my word about it, but do take my invite, and write about your experience here, as others have done in this edition of AN.
Enjoy and see you at the ALDAcon 2019 this October!
John Waldo, Esq
I have reported in past issues about two major cases involving ALDA. Both are presently in front of federal courts of appeal, and all we can do is wait and keep our fingers crossed for good outcomes.
FABULOUS FOX THEATER
The first case is against the Fabulous Fox theater in St. Louis, a 4,500-seat facility that hosts touring Broadway productions. Fox originally denied Tina Childress’s request for captioning. We filed suit on behalf of Tina and ALDA, among others, and Fox then began to offer captioning for only one performance of some but not all of its productions. We stated that was insufficient, as ADA requires offering equal benefits for people with disabilities to all shows. The District Court agreed and ordered Fox to provide captioning for any performance when an advance request was made. Fox has appealed that ruling.
Fox is taking a curious position in the appeal. On the one hand, it is arguing it has offered captioning for any performance when a request is made in advance. But it also claims that under the ADA, it shouldn’t have to do so. So we are at a loss in understanding what Fox wants, other than obviously not to lose.
All parties finished their briefings, and we are waiting for the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals to schedule oral argument. The next “window” for arguments in St. Louis is mid-April, and we hope to be on that calendar. Otherwise, we might be looking at arguments this fall, which means no decision would be likely be until early 2020.
The other case involves Fathom Events which offers alternative content for movie theaters like Metropolitan Opera productions, classic movies and Broadway and London plays. Movie theaters are working to fill seats due to increasing competition from streaming sources like Netflix and this has proven to be very successful. But none of the Fathom material is captioned.
Fathom is a joint venture with the three largest movie-theater chains – Regal, AMC and Cinemark. We sued theaters in Seattle on behalf of select ALDA members and ALDA, Inc. arguing that under the ADA, the theaters are required to offer captioning or some similar accommodation for all its services, both movie and non-movie content.
The theaters have refused and claimed it would be difficult and/or expensive to provide captioning for all Fathom material. They cited the 2016 federal captioning regulations which requires theaters to provide caption-viewing devices for any movie distributed with studio-provided captions and, as such, captioning for other show types would not apply.
Unfortunately, the District Court agreed with Fathom and threw the case out of court. We appealed, arguing the court’s decision was poorly thought out. Oddly, the theaters more or less agree with us. Rather than trying to defend the court’s decision, the theaters have made other arguments about why they should be immunized from the need to do anything else.
We requested the case be returned to the district court to allow us to conduct discovery and determine if it is possible to provide captioning for the Fathom material, how it can be done and the expected expenditures. If that happens, and we discover captioning can readily be provided without added expense, we expect the case can be settled in our favor with ease.
ALDA’s advocacy often involves taking the lead in court, but sometimes, it is through joining with other advocacy organizations to support efforts we believe are important. That is the case with the Domino’s Pizza website.
Domino’s was sued in California by a blind man who stated its website lacked the internal coding necessary to make the site accessible to blind users. Accessible sites allow software many blind people use on their computer to convert visual material into spoken form. The plaintiff argued ADA requires businesses like Domino’s to make their websites accessible. (Web access for hearing loss generally involves providing captioning videos, which is often overlooked, but easier than making visual material available to blind people through auditory means).
Domino’s raised several objections and stated there is no standard to measure accessibility. In the absence of a government-approved standard measurement on how to accomplish accessibility, Domino’s stated their constitutional rights to due process would be violated by a penalty that cannot be adequately defined. Surprisingly, the trial court accepted the argument, and threw the case out of court.
That decision created concern among disability advocates. The present administration reflects a philosophical aversion to regulations and has withdrawn a lot of proposed rules on websites and other issues. Our concern was if the notion of no obligation in the absence of a regulation caught on, the ADA would cease being a useful tool to safeguard our rights as people with disabilities.
Fortunately, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, with jurisdiction over California and most of the Western United States, reversed that decision stating there may not be specific regulations about how to provide access, but the ADA clearly states that access must be provided, leaving the business with flexibility to determine exactly how to provide said access.
Because there is no prospect for federal regulations mandating web accessibility, plaintiffs have nowhere to go other than to court. Web-access lawsuits – virtually all by blind people – has exploded, alarming businesses and their allies in Congress. So we need to be vigilant now to ensure we do not again confront a supposed legislative “fix” that hobbles legitimate efforts to seek accessibility in court.
Rest in Peace
“Callie” the Calico from California
By Ken Arcia
This is a long and difficult post. Some of my close friends know my beloved Callie, the Calico from California, recently crossed the Rainbow bridge.
I was in Portland attending the ALDA conference and my friend Lisa Inouye-Hassell was cat-sitting my two cats, Callie and Rolo. Callie was fine on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday…but Saturday, Lisa noticed Callie was not herself. On Sunday Callie became much worse and Lisa took her to the ER vet where they ran many tests and found Callie had FLV, Feline Leukemia Virus. She was very dehydrated and in pain when the ER called me while I was driving. I had to pull over while myfriend, Tess Crowder, interpreted the call for me (thank you Tess!). They asked for permission to put her down. I was an emotional wreck.
When I arrived home, they reassured me there was nothing I could have done to prevent this. I want my friend Lisa to know that I know she did all she could and I love her very much for trying her best. The ER Vet was very nice in a difficult and sad situation. I had Callie cremated and have her ashes. The vet also gave me a card with her paw prints and a tuft of her hair. Very sweet.
This is the first time I have experienced my own pet’s death and wow…it has really hit me hard. Callie was my first pet, followed by Rolo. I did not understand how people could get so attached to their pets. NOW I know! I have been tearing up whenever I talk about Callie. I made this video (link below) with some photos and videos of her. This was only a fraction of what I loved about her and our 10 years together.
I rescued Callie from a shelter when she was only 2. When I first found her, I entered the shelter with about 20 cats. 19 of them appeared to be asleep or lounging around and Callie was the only one who came to her cage door and meowed. I think she said, “Hello…is it me you’re looking for?” 🙂
Anyway, she taught me the meaning of unconditional love. She loved to sit on my shoulder when I was in my recliner. She purred so loud and her fur was soooo soft! She was so sweet and always ran out to greet visitors. She would jump on my desk several times a day just to make sure I paid attention to her. I will miss her very much. Rolo is doing ok and, thankfully, does not have the FLV. She has looked around for Callie soobviously she misses Callie too. Check out the video. Until we meet again, Callie. I love you. XO
by Matt Ferrara
Wow, the holidays are over and it seems that I just returned from the ALDAcon 2018 and now it is already the New Year, 2019. It is hard to believe that the football season is over and the Red Sox World Series win is now a distant memory.
Speaking of football, I did prepare for the Super Bowl and watched the Pat’s go all the way!
Okay, enough about sports. This is a New Year with new ALDA Board Members. I want to thank the outgoing Board Members: Roy Miller, Steve Larew, Paul Wummer and Chris Littlewood for their service to ALDA during the past years. I also want to welcome our new members to the Board and thank Sharaine Rawlinson Roberts, who is now the Past President, for her excellent job as President over the past two years
FINANCE COMMITTEE – Volunteers Welcome!
The Finance Committee is looking for a few volunteers to assist with future fundraising outreach campaigns. Now is the time to share your expertise and help. Simply email me, Matt Ferrara, at Treasurer@ALDA.org for more information. I look forward to hearing from you.
ALDA, Inc. is a non-profit corporation and donations may be tax deductible. In addition, some employers have matching donations plans. If you have any questions regarding donations, please contact me at Treasurer@ALDA.Org.
Meandering Through A Hearing World
The Understanding Ones
By Ann Bilodeau
Our lovely neighbor, Susan, always throws a holiday party, inviting everyone on our street as well as her friends and family. We always enjoy going to her home because of her great hospitality. And though I know there will be the stress of trying to hear above many voices and background noise, I always remind myself that her party is worth attending because you never know who will be there.
This year was no different. We walked into her beautiful courtyard-styled home decorated with lovely lights, and of course, a large Christmas tree. After we gave our friend a big hug and set down our gift to her, we mingled. It was a delight to run into a woman I know who suffers from hearing loss.
We started chatting. I told her about my new hearing aids and she told me about her new in-the-ear aids, which were helping her a great deal. After sipping wine, we were hungry and moved to a buffet table. Nearby a pianist was playing “Silver Bells.” I love the melody, but the music and the chorus of voices of the other guests created a background noise barrier.
I remember working hard to concentrate on what she was saying and feeling overwhelmed. I kept staring at the pianist wishing he would take a break. At one point I reset my hearing aid app to block out background noise. She must have seen my grimace because my friend looked up at me and asked, “What wouldn’t you give to get him to stop playing for five minutes?”
“Twenty bucks, easy,” I said.
“I’d up it to forty,” she said.
We laughed as we knew we would not act on our silliness. But I felt like I had a comrade-in-arms. We moved away from the noise and were able to continue our conversation outside where the background noise was not so bad. Though we were not in the thick of the party, we still enjoyed chatting. Soon other party attendees wandered over, saying we had found a good place to talk. We spent a lovely evening catching up with other neighbors and friends.
Before I left, I thanked my friend for our chat and told her I always enjoyed talking with her. She smiled and said, “It’s always nice to share with someone who truly understands what it is like to have a hearing loss.”
And so it goes. Good friends, those who truly understand or work to understand the problems people with hearing loss face, are truly angels.
GOOD HEARING FRIENDS
During the summer months, my husband and I like to catch up with our local friends who live in our Southwest Florida town year round. The other night we were invited to someone’s house for dinner. We were served a fine meal; pork tenderloin with apricots, couscous, asparagus, and a delightful French Rosé. We spent a lively evening talking about our shared interest in movies, books, and politics and found that as friends, we agree on most things.
As the evening went on, my husband and his friend spent time conversing about their mutual medical school friends, people I did not know. I did not interject much as I noticed they were enjoying their discourse. I felt these two old friends needed time together.
The next day my husband received an email from his friend asking if I was okay. He remarked about how quiet and reserved I had been, and he wondered if I had not been feeling well or if my hearing had diminished. When my husband relayed our friend’s note to me, I was a bit surprised, but realized it was written out of the concern of someone who cared.
It is not a leap for friends, relatives, or acquaintances to think that something is wrong with your hearing if you are not your usual conversant self. And, let’s face it, when you are in a noisy place or on the unfamiliar hearing ground of someone else’s home, it is easy to lose confidence in your ability to hear, particularly if conversation is at jackhammer speed. Even with the best of hearing aids, I have always found it hard to hear outside my normal milieu. Those of us with hearing loss need to concentrate on what is being said, which can be hard and exhausting work. Being tired or stressed can lead to an inability to focus, which can contribute to a bad hearing evening.
As a result, many of us may shy away in social situations or avoid social gatherings all together. It is understandable. There is always fear that we might say something wrong or answer inappropriately, making us feel foolish. It has happened to me many times. I have learned this kind of embarrassment comes with hearing loss territory.
Yet, I socialize for a reason. I want to keep myself out there and engaged with the hearing world. Think about why we communicate. It is our way of letting our dearest friends know what we are thinking and how we are feeling. In addition, going to social events, parties, restaurants and other public events contributes to well-being and longevity. Studies have shown that sequestering yourself can result in cognitive problems, including dementia and depression.
I asked my husband to write back to his friend and share I was fine and enjoyed the evening, the great food, and listening (yes, I did hear) to all the reminiscing. I also asked my husband to thank him for caring enough to ask about whether or not I was okay. There is nothing better than knowing that people care about you and your hearing health.
Nurse On Call
Ann Marie Killilea,
MSN, RN, EdDc
Lessons Learned Through Teaching:
Resilience and Optimism
I have just returned from the 2018 ALDAcon in Portland, Oregon. I had a fantastic time while meeting new people and presenting on a subject I know all too much about; improving communication skills before seeking medical care. My presentation was called: “Talk to My Face, Not to My Feet”: Tips on How to Improve Communication Skills When Seeking Medical Care.” As a late-deafened nurse, I know both sides of the issue and have made it my goal in life to help other late-deafened people learn how to improve their communication skills before they become sick.
I was nervous starting off the convention as a first presenter at last the last October ALDAcon and hoped that my educational piece that I was about to present would be of some value to those people who have a difficult time making their needs known to the medical community. I identified three different medical situations where communication can be compromised, and then followed up with a discussion on various ways of improving communication skills. The participants in the room were very receptive. There were many questions asked of me. I responded by pulling from my background and personal experiences, answering each question as best I could. Copies of my presentation and a brochure were handed out to the attendees, including how to contact me if there were any additional questions afterwards.
It was heartbreaking to observe that each person sitting in the presentation room had experienced some type of medical situation where communication was compromised, which led to problems when seeking the best health care. While the ADA gives us the right to obtain the same type of care that the hearing world seeks, it does nothing to teach us how to do this. We learn from trial and error, and we learn from each other and through ALDA!
As I was offering some solutions on how to improve communication skills when speaking to the medical community, it became obvious to me that, within each late-deafened person sitting in the lecture hall, two very strong qualities were evident; resilience and optimism. Simply defined, resilience is the ability to recover, to bounce back from misfortune. Optimism is having an internalized quality that anticipates the best possible outcome.
Resilience was noted in the questions from participants who had problems communicating for either themselves or for family members. These people were not going to give up. They knew that when they or their family member was sick, they needed to do something to improve their health. Each person also knew that they had problems communicating their needs to the healthcare worker and sometimes received the wrong treatment because of it. These people were not going to give up until they had the best care. However, it took a long time to do and that increased the frustration with their healthcare process. They sat in the audience and learned how to situate themselves in an office room to have better lighting, pick a good time of day for an appointment and take control of their environment in other ways so that they can obtain better health care and many other things.
Each person in the presentation room also demonstrated a high level of optimism. With each question that was asked, positive energy grew from the answers given. There were small groups that smiled and nodded in agreement while learning new strategies on how to improve communication skills. Support and testimonies were given about what could be done and how to institute these changes. The positive energy in the room was felt by all.
While my presentation helped to open the doors towards improving communication skills, it could not have been done without the innate resilience and optimism from each person in the audience. For anyone to get through a difficult medical situation (or any other setting) using good communication skills is one of the answers.
Through my presentation, I learned valuable knowledge from those I spoke to. While the ADA gives us the right to obtain good healthcare, it is our resilience and optimism that pushes us forward to get what we need from our healthcare providers. We must plod forward using the new communication skills just learned, and make our needs known to the healthcare community. Yes, it will be tiring and frustrating at times, but we can and must do it for ourselves. We must take the time to teach members of the healthcare field how to take care of us so that those coming along after us will not have to go through what we have gone through.
Happy 2019 to all!
Chapter Outreach! Our Chapters are working hard to make a difference for their respective members and ALDA and we appreciate all they have to offer. Stay tuned for more information on 2019 Chapter outreach.
Chapters: Per the new submission guidelines provided in the Fall issue of AN, chapter/groups can now submit their reports directly to ALDA News Submissions (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The instructions for chapter/group submissions include “Submit articles, videos, and photos to email@example.com”. The guidelines were established to prompt more submissions for ALDA Chapter/Group Happenings.
Please advise if your chapter/group are using other outlets to share your news and events. We would love to link to the sites where you are posting. Our new html-enabled newsletter easily allows this to occur. Thank you in advance for your time and support in our ALDA and ALDA Chapter outreach.
Nurse of Us
This edition of the ‘One of Us’ column features an interview with Michelle Yook.
Please read to gain insight into why Michelle is definitely “One of Us”
Michelle was born in Seoul, South Korea, and lived there until 1992. She immigrated to the United States and has resided in California ever since. Michelle currently lives in San Jose, CA, where she has been recently elected to the Board of Directors as ALDA’s Region 4 director for the 2019-2020 term.
Michelle has a severely profound hearing loss.Her hearing loss was discovered at the age of seven, but most likely existed long before, since South Korea did not have any advanced medical technology to detect hearing loss in infants. Her family thinks her premature birth, which caused her to spend time in an incubator, may have destroyed her auditory nerve cell.
Michelle is currently engaged to Jim Laffer, leader of San Jose ALDA Chapter. Michelle met Jim through DCARA community outreach in San Jose, where she works. Michelle is an advocate providing direct services to individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, or deaf-blind in communication assistance, peer counseling, advocacy, independent living skills, employment assistance, information and referral, and community education.
KK: What book or books do you recommend others read?
MY: It is hard to pinpoint inspiring books because there are so many books! If you ask me what the most comforting book is, I will say it is the Dharma Comics: Drawing on Life, written by Leah Pearlman. I found this book through the meditation workshop by Sakyong Mipham, and I was fascinated by her drawings within the book. This book comforts me to this day because some of her drawings remind me of my personal experiences. The drawings within the book have healed some of my pain and gives me joy. One day, I contacted Leah Pearlman because I wanted to buy more of her books to donate to the DeafHope, domestic violence agency for Deaf survivors in California. To my surprise, she was willing to donate and have delivered ten books to my home address along with a free t-shirt. I could not express my gratitude enough!
KK: You simply cannot live without…..
MY: I simply cannot live without compassion and kindness. When I look back, I realize my personal challenge has led me and shaped me to become compassionate toward others who need help. I value relationship with people who care about me. That is why I love Jim. He has shown me incredible acts of kindness.
KK: Your little known talent is:
MY: My little known talent would be having a long term memory. I remember playing piano “Fur Elise”, the beginning part, even though I stopped playing piano 30 years ago.
KK: The hardest thing you’ve done is:
MY: The hardest thing I have done was bringing a deaf client with a physical disability safely from the Ability Expo in San Jose to her home in Fremont in 2017. I was working as Toolworks Community Living Specialist for a client at that time. My client’s electric wheelchair ran out of battery so I had to push her wheelchair along and it was a very long way.
KK: Your funniest hearing loss moment is:
MY: My funniest hearing loss moment was meeting a passerby who asked for directions in 2007. I was standing at the 19th street BART station and she came to me and asked me a question. I said I am hard of hearing, hoping she would give up and leave. But she stayed and made a gesture to me, pointing to the BART map where she wanted to arrive. I was amazed by her proactive attitude and wanted to help her find the right direction. Since that moment, she and I have become friends.
KK: When and how did you learn about ALDA?
MY: I learned about ALDA because some of my colleagues at the UCSF Center on Deafness were ALDA members. She would bring the ALDA newsletters so I would read articles about ALDA members’ experiences.
KK: Do you belong to an ALDA chapter or group?
MY: I belong to the ALDA San Jose chapter.
KK: Have you ever attended an ALDAcon?
MY: Yes. Portland, Oregon ALDAcon 2018 was my first conference.
KK: In what ways has ALDA enhanced your life?
MY: “Whatever Works” philosophy enhanced my life personally, socially and culturally. Through ALDA, my relationships became richer.
KK: Who or what inspires you the most?
MY: Linda Drattell inspires me the most because her keen insight and her advocacy experience has been valuable. Her advice encouraged me to connect to meet more people from the HLAA organizations, ALDA chapter, and learn more about BART accessibility. I joined the BEADHH as a board of member because I respect her advocacy effort.
KK: People would be surprised to learn that you…
MY: I have a mild autism. People would be surprised because a mild autism is easily disregarded as a cultural prejudice. To most people, I may appear as a shy Asian girl. To other people, I may appear as too quiet of a person in social interactions.
KK: Your biggest pet peeve is:
MY: People think I am Chinese but now I laugh it off. 23andMe DNA test helps me become aware how most people can make a biased assumption.
KK: Your favorite childhood memory is:
MY: Learning to ride a bicycle.
KK: Your favorite saying is:
MY: I like Helen Keller’s quote, “Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.”
KK: The bottom line is:
MY: I like who I am and where I am today because of my identity as a Korean American hard of hearing and ALDA member. Acceptance matters to everyone, especially me.
“Humorous Stories” by Debbe Hagner
Sometimes it helps those of us who are hard or hearing or deaf to share embarrassing stories. Although sharing embarrassing stories might make us sad, they can also give a good laugh. In whatever the case, we can feel more like others, than different, knowing we are not the only ones that do silly things or make mistakes. Here are a few moments you may be able to relate to or at least, have a chuckle.
While in high school, I worked for a local fire department and was tasked with organizing a fire safety program for deaf and hard of hearing people. I had the opportunity to use sign language and speak at a fire service convention of 25,000 firefighters, fire marshals, fire chiefs and people at various levels of fire prevention. I was proud of my presentation especially when people stood up and clapped at the end.
I continued to make fire safety presentations well into college and shared this experience with both my male and female instructors. One day when a female professor asked “How did you do?”, I responded with “It was nice being in front of thousands of men and receiving a standing ovulation.” A few days later she corrected me; noting that I had the word ovulation mixed up with ovation. After I overcame my embarrassment, I went back to one of my male instructors and questioned why he did not correct me. He said, “It was the best joke I ever heard!”
Another time, my sister and I went to a glass show where they had pink, green, and carnival Depression Glass from the 1920’s. When I noticed a beautiful etching on the glass I exclaimed, “That’s a beautiful mammogram.” My sister immediately shook her head and mumbled, “Eeh, never mind her. Never mind her.” She later told me, “It’s monogram Debbe and not mammogram.” All I could muster in response was “Oh!” I still get monogram and mammogram mixed up, so I try not to say it too often and have learned to be careful of what I say.
Bursts of Bubbles
A friend of mine told me an embarrassing story about his deaf son, while being cared for by his mom. His mom had a bunch of ladies from church visit her house and she told her grandson to take a bath. While the grandson was bathing, he started making bubbles and then decided to fart in the bathtub, and continued to make farting noises to his delight.
After he was bathed and dressed he joined the ladies downstairs. When one of the ladies asked, “Did you have a lot of fun making bubbles?”, the grandson looked at his grandmom with an expression of, “What is she talking about? His grandmom laughed and explained to her grandson that the farting and bubble noises were loud sounds heard by her visiting guests. Her grandson did not realize that when he farted or burped it is a loud enough noise for all to hear.
Icebreaker – Who Saiditit
There was a time when I would say, “Well you saiditit”. My family would correct me, “No it is, you said it.” But to me it sounded better when I said, You saiditit.”
What’s the Score
When I was very young and wore a body aid with plug in my ear and harness. I was often asked the score of the baseball games. I would look at them like “What?”. As it turns out, they thought that I was listening to a radio.
Tea for Two or a Few?
When I lived with a former boyfriend, he once asked me to make tea in big pot. Since I never made tea in my life, he instructed me. I thought I heard, “Oh just put 17 tea bags in the pot.” When he was not feeling well a few days later he asked me, “How many tea bags did you put in there?” I said, “I put 17 tea bags in there.” He said, “Oh my gosh – NO! I said 7 tea bags.” To my embarrassment, when I heard “7tea” I interpreted 17!
The moral of these stories is to never be afraid to admit your mistakes. Just be honest. People may feel more open if you admit your mistakes and share more with you. If you are having trouble remembering any of your embarrassing mistakes, try asking your family or friends but by all means, be sure to find the humor and laugh.