Not Everything is Captioned

An Old Philco Predicta TV. This was the iPad of its day. Image courtesy of

Sometime ago, a Deaf friend asked me to interpret the 10:00 News. Captioning doesn’t always work with live TV feeds from on scene reporters, so I was glad to comply.

“All of it,” she said.


First, was a statement that the President said the country was on an even keel. Things were improving. This was said by the reporter, whose name was featured.

“Who is saying that, the President or the reporter?”

Then the President said the same thing.

“Huh?” my friend said.

“Shut up,” I said sweetly. Next the head of a citizens group in Chicago stated that the President is completely wrong. Things are not getting better, they’re getting worse. This was said by another reporter. Then we saw the citizen’s group representative saying the same thing.

“He said the same thing. How do we know who is right, and on what basis is their estimate made?”

“Shut up,” I said cheerily. Then we had commercials, which I interpreted.

“Ridiculous” she said.

Then, a report of a fire, a couple of hit and runs and a drive by shooting. More commercials. The weather – self explanatory. Lastly, a reporter told us, that he was speaking from the gold reserve center at Fort Knox, Kentucky. If the drain of gold leaving the United States isn’t stopped in 3 days, the country will be left with huge gold deficits which would result in an immediate crisis.

“Oh my goodness!” cried my friend. “How could this terrible thing have happened? Won’t the government marshall all its powers to stop this – what a crisis!”

“Crisis, nothing” I said, and I turned off the set. “We get crises every evening. I never heard of this one before – and I know I’ll never hear it again. Choose your cataclysm. But, you wanted the news that hearing people get – and you got it.”

“But it doesn’t make any sense.”

“That’s why they call it the boob tube.”


“Shut up,” I said, “and drink your brandy.”

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