Once upon a time there was a tenacious mom with a kid who couldn’t hear so well, so she decided it might be a good idea to get a sign to warn passersby. She wanted a sign that said “Yo, Slow Down Fool. Deaf Kid Up In Here.” But research quickly showed her that signs like that were frowned upon by the founding fathers of her town. (Hoosiers can be uptight like that.) So she settled on a sign that read, “Deaf Child Area.” It wasn’t as eloquent or direct as her chosen wording but it would do. Tenacious Mom called the City and inquired about how a sign like that might be procured.
The first City secretary was flustered by Tenacious Mom’s request. “Oh ma’am, I don’t know anything about signs like that. You should check somewhere else.”
The second City secretary was confused but had the good sense to redirect Tenacious Mom’s call. “Honey, I’ve got no clue but I’ll connect you to the Streets Department and I’m sure they’ll know what to do.
Much like Goldilocks, Tenacious Mom hoped her third connection would be just right. But as we all know, crap never happens like that. Tenacious Mom left a charming message and awaited what she assumed would be an informative return call from an intelligent City official, after all, City officials are there to assist the people…right? (Aw hells no. Not even in fairy tales.)
One week later, Tenacious Mom received a call. The man identified himself as the Superintendent of Streets and when he gave his name, Tenacious Mom –also known as Smartass Mom- bit her tongue to avoid commenting as the Superintendent of Streets’ first name was the same as his last. (For the purpose of avoiding litigation, he will henceforth be known as Steve Steves.)
“Hello Ma’am. I have a message here that you are interested in procuring a Deaf Child sign for your street.”
“Yes, Steve Steves, I am.”
“I’m assuming you have a deaf child?”
“That’s a solid deduction Steve Steves.”
“Well Ma’am, by law in the State of Indiana, we are not required to put up that kind of sign.”
“Yes Ma’am. Deaf Child, Blind Child and Children at Play. We’re not required to put those up. We get nervous mothers asking for Children at Play signs every week. If I gave a sign to every mom who wanted to let her kid play in the street, ha ha, I’d never get anything done, ha ha ha.”
“So parents of deaf and blind children just want to let their kids play in the street too?”
“No Ma’am. I was just explaining why we don’t put up those kinds of signs.”
“I’m assuming in Indiana it’s ok to run over deaf and blind children who didn’t see or hear the car coming? Obviously they’re of less value as they can’t hear or see.”
“No Ma’am, now I didn’t say that. We Hoosiers respect our children.”
“Just not deaf or blind ones, as it seems to be unimportant to keep those kids safe by alerting drivers that my kid might not hear them coming.”
“Now Ma’am, there’s no need to get upset. There’s good reasoning behind this that proves these kinds of signs are unnecessary.”
“Oh Steve, I’m not upset. We’re just discussing. Right? Now I’m pretty new to this state and I’ll be honest, I’m not a fan of some of the laws here but why don’t you tell me more about why signs protecting small children who cannot hear or see are unnecessary, because to a gal like me, that sounds a bit odd. ”
“Yes Ma’am. There have been studies that show drivers are immune to such signs and do not yield, thus the sign is of no use. Might I suggest you place something large and colorful on your sidewalk when your child is outside playing instead?”
“Large and colorful?”
“Yes Ma’am, when our kids were young my wife and I used to pull out one of those neon turtles with the ‘children playing’ flag, to alert traffic.”
“Ah yes, a neon turtle to protect my deaf son. Steve Steves, can I ask, do you have a deaf child?”
“Do you have a blind child?”
“Then you shouldn’t tell mothers to use a neon turtle to protect their deaf or blind children.”
“Again, Ma’am, I’m just trying to help.”
“No Steve, I don’t feel like you are. I think you called to feel me out. You wanted to see if I was going to be a pain in your ass about this or if I was going to be easily cajoled by the suggestion of a neon turtle. Well Steve, as I mentioned before, I’m new in town. I’m a life-long teacher, an advocate for deaf kids and unfortunately for you, I’m coming from Philadelphia and my husband is from Turkey. Steve, I’ll be honest with you, we don’t fight like Hoosiers. We fight like Philly Turks and I’m assuming you had World Civ in school so you know how Turks fight.”
“Now Mrs. Özemet, there’s really no need to fight. There are options.”
“Like what Steve?”
“Well, you can petition City Council with your request.”
“Fantastic! Get us on the docket for the next meeting. The Turk and I will be there to petition. Should I bring my own expert testimony and research? Is the venue Power Point ready?”
“Um, I…I…I’d have to check.”
“You do that Steve because I’m not going away.”
“Let me do some checking and get back to you Mrs. Özemet. Maybe there are other options I’m not aware of.”
“Good thinking Steve Steves. If I don’t hear back in a few days, I’ll just swing by your office and we can chat in person.”
Three days later, Steve Steves called Tenacious Mom to inform her that her request had been passed through City Council without any need for her to be present. Was it fear of The Turk waging jihad? Was it fear of a Philly smack-down? We may never know, but she again fought the urge to morph into Smartass Mom and thanked the man with two first names for his assistance.
One month later, just when Tenacious Mom was about to visit Steve Steves’ office to “check” on things, City workers mounted not one, but two, Deaf Child Area signs on either side of her house. Though she still longed for a sign that read, “Yo, Slow Down Fool. Deaf Kid Up In Here,” she was pretty damn pleased with the ones she got.
The Moral Of Our Story: Men with two first names should never take on a tenacious mom and her Turkish husband.