About two months ago, I was at the dentist’s office. It reminded me of the two best things about going to the doctor when you’re little: candy and Novocain shots. Um, wait, not Novocain shots, but Highlights for Children. Highlights for Children featured an illustrated story starring two kids, Goofus and Gallant. The purpose of this strip instructed kids on the right and wrong things to do by way of contrasting examples, for example:
Gallant helps elderly Mrs. Hartley with her shopping bags.
Goofus laughs at frail old Mrs. Hartley as she carries three heavy shopping bags up five flights of stairs.
Gallant makes sure to wear clean shirts at dinnertime.
Goofus shows up at the dinner table wearing his old “wife-beater” t-shirt.
Man, I hated Gallant. What a total brown-noser.
Bing! A little light bulb went off in my head. There should be a Deaf version of Goofus and Gallant. Let’s call them Doofus and Dallant because I do not want to receive a “cease and desist” letter from a snarling pack of power-hungry lawyers.
Doofus and Dallant go to Deaf Happy Hour!
Entering the bar
• Dallant politely shows his driver’s license to a large bouncer.
• Doofus angrily says “I’m Deaf!” to a puzzled bouncer.
• Dallant wears his neatly pressed polo shirt and khaki pants.
• Doofus wears a faded t-shirt and ill-fitting denim shorts, with white tube socks.
• Dallant shows up freshly shaved. His newly coiffed hair is admired by many.
• Doofus sports an unfashionable goatee. The hair underneath his old baseball cap needs a long-overdue trip to SuperCuts.
Greeting his friends
• Upon entering, Doofus stops to give his old school buddies bear hugs and begins chatting away, thus blocking the doorway (much to chagrin of other people attempting to walk through).
• Dallant quickly makes his entrance and politely excuses himself through a crowd of signers. He finally says hello to everyone at the far end of the bar.
• Dallant walks up to the bar and waits for the next available bartender. He orders a drink of Grey Goose Vodka with lime and asks fellow deaf people if they want drinks. He signs “thank you” to the bartender.
• Doofus slams his hand on the bar and demands the cheapest beer in the house.
• Dallant tells the bartender to keep the change.
• Doofus waits for the bartender to be distracted by other customers so he can sneak away without leaving a dollar.
• Doofus accosts the most skanky-looking girl in the room and demands that she be his new girlfriend.
• Dallant introduces himself to several nice girls and buys drinks for them.
• Dallant proudly shows off his latest moves he learned at the Arthur Murray studio.
• Doofus starts signing wildly with his friends on the dance floor, getting the way of deaf and hearing patrons who are attempting to dance.
Using a pager
• Dallant discreetly checks for messages on his iPhone. After 45 seconds of use, he promptly puts it away in his pocket.
• Doofus blatantly yanks his Wyndtell out from his fannypack. He lets out a loud yowl in pain after hitting the delete button 20 times.
• Dallant looks at his watch and quickly says farewell to his new friends. He promises to finish his stories at the next month’s DPHH.
• Doofus says good-bye but changes his mind. He refuses to let his tired friends to go home. He keeps on blabbering about the same old stories all night long.
Exiting the bar
• Dallant politely signs “good night” to a bouncer.
• Doofus angrily yowls “I’m Deaf!” to an exasperated bouncer.
[Editor's Note: This piece was originally published in DeafDC.com on May 2007.]