Do you ever play the Deaf card?

I remember being in Chicago for the Deaf softball tournament in the 80s. Don’t know the year so I am guessing I was about 10, maybe. Our family driving on Lake Shore Drive. I was enjoying the view of Lake Michigan when a cop pulled us over. I leaned forward to talk to the cop. Turns out dad was swaying between lanes. He tells the cop (I tell the cop) “I am Deaf and I was looking at my wife for directions”. My father knows his way around every major city in the US. Deaf card had been played. The cop let us go.

When I was in high school I had a boyfriend that lived about 8 miles away. We were lined up off the highway beautifully. It was a quick on ramp, stretch of highway and then an off ramp. One summer night I was coming back from his house. It was about 11pm. I was enjoying the wonderful night and probably had my foot on the pedal a bit more than I should. The speed limit is 35, I think I was a tad over, ok ok more than a tad. A policeman pulls me over two blocks before home. He says, “what’s your story”. I tell him “My parents are Deaf and I’m running late, I have no way to call them to let them know I am on the way”. Deaf card played. This was way before cell phones. The policeman looked at me and said “nice one” and let me go.

Last fall I wanted to join a dance class with my husband. He didn’t want to and actually I ended up accompanying him to his flight training school to interpret. Wow, that was hard. Not the going and doing but the aviation terminology is a killer. To translate things you know absolutely nothing about is really very hard. Miraculously, my daughter’s pre-school had a bunch of parents signing up for adult dance lessons. AHA! I signed my husband and I up, waited 3 weeks and then brought him the invitation. At first he squirmed and said “aaaww, I don’t wanna”. I glared and said “oh I loved interpreting flight school”. So he said, “well I’m Deaf and I can’t dance”. I couldn’t believe it, he was playing the Deaf card. This was the first time ever! I replied with”Yea? well I’m a Coda and you can’t pull that with me, Deaf can do anything!”. He giggled and said “OK OK for my lovely wife I will do”. Last night was our first lesson. I was beaming an hour before. Perma-grin had set in. We get to the class and start with a basic pattern for ballroom dancing. We had soooo much fun. In fact, my husband grasped it just a bit faster than I did. Our dance teacher said that men that are skilled in reading blueprints or building things with patterns have a greater time of catching the dance moves easier. I created a monster! He was so into it! It was so FUN! After he took me for coffee and he was still chatting it up.

When we arrived home, our girls were begging for a demo. They are both in dance and know our dance instructor. After gliding for about 1 minute the girls also had perma-grins. They were so excited to see Daddy dancing. Momma dances around the house all the time, but Dad, this was new and exciting. Visions of Valentine’s Day daddy/daughter dances and their wedding day dance entered my head.

So have you played the Deaf card to get out of something? What was it?


  1. Lucky I didn’t marry smart card lady like you! LOL!!

  2. I admit that I used the Deaf card to get out of having to go to the obligatory company dinner or other such boring stuff with my significant other, by stating that since they are all hearing and non-signers (he was hearing) that I wouldn’t really understand and enjoy myself. Who wants to attend a rubber chicken dinner and sit around while they talk about this company or that company and give away some silly award? Nah, let him go alone and I’ll stay home, take a nice long bubble bath and curl up with a good book!

  3. I’ll just state one example of playing the deaf card and that is me using to skip movies when I don’t want to go. I’d say that movies aren’t captioned and don’t really feel like dealing with that. -shrugs- Sometimes, that’s true, though.

  4. Mishka Zena

    I didn’t use the Deaf card, but the communication card to get out of large social gatherings where people don’ sign.

    My Deaf students did try pulling the Deaf card on me. Of course, with me also being Deaf, that wasn’t the best thing to do. I just looked at them with an amused expression, not saying anything. They never tried that again πŸ˜‰

  5. when i always pulled the deaf card as lame excuse for not going to hearing church without interpreter.

    when my brother’s fiance pulled the deaf card that her dad did not invite my deaf sister and me (deaf too) due to our barrier of communication. but they only invited my hearing sibling and my hearing parent to their house for special dinner before wedding. two deaf sibling of us stayed at home. which one? the deaf card or audism?


  6. oh blimey where do I start as this has brought back memories.
    Done this many times when I was late for a bus I pulled a deaf card cos i cant hear the announcements so they put me on next bus for free.

  7. Well, as I am hearing I haven’t pulled the Deaf card, but can I?? My luck it would be someone who knew sign and I’d be busted!! LOL
    Visions of interpreting Microeconomics in college came flooding back, though! Japanese was bad, too. I think subbing for Business Statics after the regular interpreter for that class had come up with all the signs and I didn’t know them was the worst. I only did that once!! πŸ™‚
    Oh, and I’m sorry buzz..that’s wasn’t nice of them!

  8. codadiva

    Ocean, I know what you mean, I sometimes do the “I’m sick, go without me thing”.

    Misha, kids will try anything!!

    Buzz, not nice at all. Sorry you have to endure that kind of treatment.

    Fintan, so funny… really.

    Michelle -thanks for stopping by my new friend. Whew – since I’m not an interpreter geez, that stuff you had to endure must have been grueling!

  9. rld002

    I just stumbled across your blog and I thought I’d say hello πŸ™‚

    I’ve really enjoyed your insight into deaf culture. I’ve never encountered deaf individuals (small town, heh), so it’s cool to gain a better understanding.

  10. codadiva

    rld –
    Thanks for stopping by! I know I’m working on local Deaf Awareness programs right now. It’s rather a culture shock to move from a big city like Chicago.

    Hope to see you more often, I’d be curious to learn how you stumbled here.

  11. mamalutz

    Oh yeah my parents pulled that one. I am so sure they would deny it with a big smile! Wish I had thought of pulling the deaf card to get myself out of a ticket!

  12. Colleen

    Oh I have been really inappropriate and have played the deaf card – but usually in situations of when I am with my parents or when with them and their friends. As an example, a group of us were travelling down to Banff for the Deaf Winter Games in ’91, we stopped off at a Cafe for brunch. I told them that I was too tired to interpret and asked them if it is ok if I acted Deaf as well. They all thought it was humerous and agreed with my idea and so I did. During this time of which I shared with them some of the comments that I had over heard some of the serving staff had said. At the end of our “prime” dining experience, as we were leaving, I voiced thank you so much for the fabulous service. Jaws dropped. All of the people in my group laughed.

  1. 1 Dancing is hard work! « Mother Father Deaf

    […] my previous post Do you ever play the Deaf card? my husband and I just joined a dance class. We are now into our fifth lesson, however we have […]

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