Deaf or Dead: a true story

By Jolanta Lapiak, 2003.

The video story Deaf or Dead based on a true story exemplifies a gift in disguise for its appearing misfortune and a heart-penetrating tragedy in disguise for what appears as a fortune.

Video produced by Jolanta Lapiak, Ameslan literary artist, 2003.

I've always likened this story to the Zen parable, "I don't know." This parable tells a short story about a farmer who lost his horse. The village felt sorry for him for his bad luck. The farmer shrugged, "I don't know." Next, the horse came back with many horses! The village commented how lucky he was. He remained neutral. Next, his son fell off the horse and broke his leg. Bad luck? The farmer didn't see that way. Next, the statemen came to the village to send young men away for war, except for the son with his broken leg.

So, my father didn't have his hearing like his four best hearing buddies who lost their lives at age 8-10(?). These buddies found an old World War II bomb and played with it while my father was at his residential school for the deaf. The bomb went off yet my father's deafness saved his life.

This video I created explores cultural relativism of how humans perceive a specific angle out of possible multiple facets. It looks at the causes and effects of how things connect events of the past to the future and how events are colored, whether they were once thought to be wonderful or disastrous and later turned to be the opposite, depending on which time they are perceived from.


"When I saw the title of this video, I was offended. After viewing it, I had a change of heart. The person in teh video was lucky to be Deaf; otherwise, he'd be dead. This video compelled me to reflect on my life as a Deaf woman, the circumstances of being Deaf. The play on words, Deaf or Dead made me realize the importance of being Deaf." -- Teresa Fleming, April 2005.

Knowing Fish: a poetic narrative.