There once was a boy named Eddie, he was tall and slim, and very handsome. He lived in a big house in the desert, and went to school with lots of other kids. Eddie was a very smart boy; he liked to ride his bike and loved to watch wrestling on TV. He was good at sports and great at video games, but something was missing; he didn’t have many friends.
Eddie was a fast talker, I don’t mean like a car salesman fast talker, I mean like he talked fast. Whenever Eddie would try to introduce himself to new people he wanted to meet, he’d say “hi-Im-Eddie-doyou-wanna-play”? He was so hard to understand that kids he wanted to play with would just laugh at him and tell him “fast Eddie I can’t even understand you, how do you expect me to play” and they would laugh and run away. This made Eddie very sad; he didn’t like being called “fast Eddie”, and wanted to play with the other kids. Then one day, a new kid started in Eddie’s school. She was the prettiest girl he had ever seen. Eddie decided that he wanted to meet her sooo much that he walked up to her and said “Hi-ImEddie-doyou-wanna-play”? The girl started making all kinds of funny motions with her hands, but said nothing to Eddie. When the other kids saw this, they started laughing at both of them and said “hey Eddie she doesn’t want to talk to you either” and ran off to play. Eddie, not knowing what to think of this, thought she was making fun of him and said “youdont-needto-makefun-ofme” and stomped off.
The little girl was sad that she made Eddie mad, and wanted to make a friend. You see, the little girl was deaf (that means she can’t hear) and didn’t have many friends either, but was so happy when Eddie came to say hi that it made her sad when he walked away.
Later that day, Eddie saw the little girl making the funny hand movements to one of her teachers, he was curious why she would be doing that to someone else so he walked up to her teacher and said “himy-namesEddie-whyis-she-throwingher-hands-aroundlike-that”? The teacher looked at Eddie and said “sweetie I’m having a hard time understanding you when you talk so fast” while at the same time making the funny movements with her hands too. Eddie was very confused, but slowed down to say “whyis she throwing herhands aroundlike that’? The nice teacher was able to understand Eddie better that time and explained to him that it was called “sign language”, a special way to talk to people that can’t hear. “But whydo youtalk toher atthe sametime thatyou signif thatsthe wayshe talks”? “Well Eddie” she said “if you talk slowly while doing sign language, she can learn to read lips and understand what I’m saying”. Eddie thought that was so cool, he wanted to learn sign language too. He asked the teacher (very quickly) if she could teach him sign language, and she said “of course I can, but you will have to learn to speak slower, or she will not be able to understand what you’re trying to say”. The teacher started to teach Eddie “sign language” and soon he was able to say “Hi I’m Eddie, do you want to play?” The little girl eyes lit up and she signed to him… “Hi I am Emma, and I would be delighted to”. Eddie and Emma became the best of friends and pretty soon, the other kids stopped calling him “fast Eddie” because he learned to slow down to talk with his new friend Emma, and was able to help Emma learn to read lips, and that helped her to make new friends too.
Copyright 2012 Bob Rinker
The author lives in Arizona, USA.
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