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"I have a horrible memory, but I've got huge, uh... er... what
was I saying?"

MY FORMER boss, a doctor, found it easier to communicate with one of his elderly, hard-of-hearing patients by writing her notes. One day she came to the office for some test results. "Now, doctor," she said sternly, "if you have anything to tell me, please have your secretary type it. Frankly, your handwriting is worse than my hearing."

As A blind person, I found communicating with my former boss, who was deaf, one of the most challenging aspects of the job. I learned enough sign language to communicate with him, and his speech was quite understandable to me. Once, after we had collided with each other, my boss remarked jovially, "Why don't you look where you're going?" "Why should I?" I responded in sign language. "You never listen to a word I say."

I WAS sight-seeing on my own in London. At Hyde Park Corner I helped a blind man cross the street into the park. In return, he gave me a guided tour, describing the surroundings along the way. He pointed out a brightly painted hut by the Serpentine and told me I would see people in deck chairs on the grass watching the swans. He described a large gnarled oak where he had played as a child.  I did not tell the old gentleman that the hut was rusty and falling over, the grass was littered with fast-food refuse, the oak was now a stump. He'd been blind for many years, but his memories of Hyde Park stand clearer in my mind than what I saw with my own eyes.

A blind man was standing on the corner with his dog when the dog raised his leg and wet on the man's trouser leg. The man reached in his pocket and took out a doggie biscuit. A busybody who had been watching ran up to him and said, "You shouldn't do that. He'll never learn anything if you reward him when he does something like that!". The blind man retorted, "I'm not rewarding him. I'm just trying to find his mouth so that I can kick him in the ass".

OUR daughter's marriage counselor also has a counseling group for deaf couples. He has noticed that the deaf raise their hands higher than usual when they use sign language to express strong feeling. The stronger the emotion, the higher go their hands.  At one session, a woman communicating in sign language to her husband seemed, particularly agitated. Her husband tried to calm her by lowering her hands, but her gestures became higher and higher.  Finally losing his patience, her husband pulled her hands down and signed, "Don't talk so loud. I'm not blind, you know."

A BLIND man was waiting to cross a street in Stavanger, Norway. The elderly woman next to him took his arm and they crossed the street together. Safely on the other side, the woman said, "Thank you so much. You see, I am nearly blind."

WHEN my friend joined me at a football game, I hardly recognized him with his new hairpiece. Instead of his customary hat, he now wore a luxurious head of hair.  Before the game they started to play the national anthem.   As we all rose, I glanced over at my friend. Clutching his new hairpiece in his right hand, he placed it over his heart, his bald head shining in the bright afternoon sun.

AT THE corner of Albert and Bank streets in central Ottawa, a blind man was trying to attract attention by calling out to people. Before I could cross the street and help him, a man took his arm. As they passed me, I was surprised to hear the good Samaritan giving the blind man the approximate distance to O'Connor Street in paces — the blind man needing assistance was being helped by another blind man, using a white cane.

A DEAF friend who communicates by using "finger language" started playing volleyball. As she was telling me how much she enjoyed the game, she added, "But the first week my fingers hurt so much I could hardly talk!"

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Last updated May 19, 2008 by Becquet's Custom Programming