Tuesday, October 25, 2005

I'm a terrible person

Yesterday was the grand occasion of my award luncheon. I arrived at the civic center where it was being held, only to find roving hoardes of young teenagers running around. Inside, adults milled about. I could hear a piano tinkling away on "I Believe I Can Fly."

It was right about then my fight or flight instinct began keening, with the emphasis on flight. If I were Spider-Man, the little squiggly lines of my spider-sense, denoting impending danger, would have been going off.

But I didn't retreat. I signed in at the table and was given a raffle ticket then escorted to a table. Several people were already seated.

They smiled then began gesturing to each other with their hands.

They were signing. They were deaf.

In case you haven't yet followed the implications of this scenario all the way, allow me. They seated me, the guy who can't use his hands, with the crowd that use their hands more than anybody. There was a certain irony. So I just smiled and nodded a lot.

A few feet from me the keyboardist continued to be totally into the inspirational song of hope vibe. "The Wind Beneath My Wings" was not long in its debut.

A big crowd was gathering. I knew I wasn't the only person being honored. There were two other people receiving my award, and several high school students being honored as well. Which is great for them, but for me, I don't really feel like an "inspiration."

And, oh God, the door prizes. They were endless. Flower arrangements, gift cards from restaurants, t-shirts, radios, hats, dozens of hats from a car dealership. Door prizes easily added an hour to everything.

My congressman was there, pressing the flesh, shaking everyone's hand. His little green namebadge was cute.

Lunch was a kind of pasta dish. Not bad, not great. More signing. More me smiling.

And then came the special performance. A signing choir from a local school for the deaf marched an American flag across the stage until the one carrying the flag appeared to stumble but was steadied by the others. I thought he had stumbled until the gunshots rang out and realized they were soldiers. Ahh. Just showbiz. I'm with it now. Then began playing the single most bombastic version of The Star Spangled Banner I have ever heard. So loud that I'm fairly certain that this was a well-disguised attempt to make us all deaf as well, in a very X-Men, Magneto-like plot to remake the world. Very crafty, very crafty indeed, I say.

Later I received my plaque that was inscribed:

You are awesome for being disabled and not a total drag on society.

Well, no, not really, but that's the gist.

Really, it was a nice affair. I'm just a bad person, that's all.


Jus said...

One Word: Hilarious.

What a funny day for you, and the irony - oh the irony.

Kells said...

this should be a 1/2 hour sitcom: The Paul Show.

thanks for this.

Josh_Hanson said...

That would be the single greatest award, ever.

Do you hear how I just lapsed into the Simpsons' comic Book Guy there? That's how funny this is.

Paul said...

Oh, the stories I could tell. I've been in far more ridiculous/absurd setups.

Emily Lloyd said...

I Believe I Can Fly is absolutely my least favorite song, anywhere, ever, and of course it gets trotted out at all such events. Blargh.

"They seated me, the guy who can't use his hands, with the crowd that use their hands more than anybody. There was a certain irony."

Somehow this reminds me of the peculiar truth about orthopedic shoes: if they have laces, the laces are GIANT and practically cock-thick, the assumption being that if your feet don't work well, neither do your hands (or does your brain).

Peter said...

Paul: What a great story, it made my day. I laughed my ass off reading it.

You are not a bad person. You are wonderful.

Paul said...

Ha! "Cock-thick." That's great. I might have to steal that one of these days.

Melissa said...

oh my. What a day this was, eh? Nothing like missed hand gestures and a blaring band to make you realize your tremendous value to society. ;)

Suzanne said...

You made me laugh & laugh. I adore you! xoxoxo