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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Overcoming Hearing Loss and Achieving Success on Her Own Terms: The Kathy Buckley Story

I enjoy looking at life in a humorous way. For me it's very rewarding to make people laugh with a perfectly timed zinger. Even better would be to get paid to do it. When I was a child I sometimes pretended to be a stand up comedian like the ones featured on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. In my twenties I even put my hand to writing a few jokes of my own. Even now humor is one of the bigger categories in my blog sidebar's list of topics. So I was thrilled to recently learn about a deaf comedienne named Kathy Buckley.

She has written her life story in an inspiring book titled If You Could Hear What I See: Lessons about Life, Luck, and the Choices We Make. Kathy's childhood was difficult. Her hearing loss was not even diagnosed until she was eight years old. Until that time, she was presumed to be mentally slow. In her late teens, she was run over by a lifeguard driving a Jeep. She says, "I finally get laid and it's by a Jeep." No laughing matter, she needed five years to recover from her extensive injuries. Doctors said she wouldn't be able to walk normally again. She didn't listen to that and is today able to walk unassisted. The next challenge to come along was cervical cancer. A frightening diagnosis for anyone, it was even more so for her when she couldn't understand what the doctors and nurses were saying during her treatments. She pulled through and moved forward with her life.

She got a pair of hearing aids and went to school for massage therapy. She wanted to be an actress but got into comedy instead when she entered and won a competition that was raising money for a children's charity. She then worked hard at learning the comedy business and used her onstage platform to tell her life story with humor and raise awareness of what it's like to be a deaf woman. Eventually this led to motivational speaking opportunities.

I highly recommend her book to you. If you'd like to learn more about Kathy, you can visit her website. There's a video there that features some of her comedy act. Unfortunately it's not captioned, I'm disappointed to say.

The following short video gives a summary of her achievements. (No captions needed, the audio is a song.)


MM said...

I think deaf people have a great capacity for humour, it is a pity they don't show it much. The UK is perported to have just ONE sign using comedian that does it for a living. I've seen funnier hairstyles ! I've HAD funnier hairstyles.

I think where they fall down is deaf are 'non-topical' a lot of deaf humour is totally centralised on communication errors, strictly deaf humour (There's a TV series here lol), or less than subtle digs at hearing people.

The first can be humourous, but is limited in development, because deaf seem too introspective to the world outside, the second can go over a hearing audience's heads, the third, may just harden hearing attitudes to deaf people unless done properly.

Funny enough (!) I Just did a blog on humour. Have you heard LOL !!!! the one about.... ? :)

Steve said...

"The only disability out there is attitude".

Great quote.

SpeakUp Librarian said...

Thanks for your comment, MM. I have two requests for you: Please post photos of funny hairstyles. Please send the link for your post on humor - I searched but could not find your blog. (Librarians hate to admit defeat searching too.)

SpeakUp Librarian said...

Amen, Steve. I agree with Kathy on that one. She certainly has the credibility to say that after all she has endured.

Amy Kay said...

I'm so glad you posted this! This is funny stuff!!! Thanks for sharing.

kim said...

I read this book a long time ago and thought it was great! Real inspirational. I've never seen her act though. Wish I could.

SpeakUp Librarian said...

Hi AmyKay, I think you would love the book. If you read it, let me know what you think of it.

Hi Kim. Yes, it's definitely not a new book, just new to me. I'm glad you thought it was as wonderful as I did. I get the feeling from her book and website (but perhaps I'm wrong) that she performs mainly for hearing audiences. I wonder how she feels about captioned theatre? It would be amazing if she did a show with captions, wouldn't it?

MM said...

Hi If you peruse (There you go a posh word worthy of any librarian!), my blog there is an 'MM unleashed' or "Mad Silurian" links there, I used to do a lot of observations on my life, comments on issues, and added humour to some of them, it is not deaf-centric as such, which I am sure either displays I am Schizo, or very usefully using past hearing experience to cope with the nows of deafness..

I am sure some trick cyclist will suggest this is my escape from deafness and relating back to the hearing side but :) A lot is UK related... maybe some of the brit humour is not so easy to follow by Americans, I tend to use a lot of sarcasm and irony,and word-play too at times..

I'm not a comic, but I like humour, who doesn't ?

MM said...

Try :)

SpeakUp Librarian said...

OMG, your blog is hilarious. I totally get your sense of the absurd. I didn't see a spot for comments there, so I'm leaving it here and hoping you'll return and find it.
Thank you so much for sharing. You have a new fan!