Random Thoughts by Uncle Dale: Love and Libel on a T-shirt.

Several years ago I was giving a final. My desk was in the back of the classroom and so I was looking at my students backs. I was busy correcting final essays when I got a text.

The text just said “look up.”

When I looked up I saw that while my mind was on essays every student in the class had put on the same t-shirt.

This t-shirt

It was one of the best moments I ever had as a professor.

Someone asked me, “isn’t that insulting?”


Now, if they had written it on the bathroom wall then maybe. But they took the time and the effort to silkscreen it on the t-shirt. I saw it for what it was immediately; a love note.

I love my students. There are many things about teaching that I do not miss. I do not miss correcting papers at midnight. I do not miss getting placed on yet another committee that adds to my work without adding to my pay. I do not miss faculty meetings.

But I miss my students.

I can see every one of their faces. I follow them as they grow and develop as working interpreters. I love to see when they get a new job, or have a baby or get married or reach any milestone in their lives outside the classroom.

And I love that they would take the time and effort to zing me on a t-shirt.

I have now gone back to my roots. I am working full time as an attorney at a law firm. The other day the student who originally made these shirts asked me if I wanted another batch.

Um. Yes!

They just arrived and they are beautiful.

The staff at Ascent Law has snatched many of them up, but I have some left. A lot of smalls and mediums. A few larges (they tend to run a little large).

If you want one send me an email to dale.boam@ascentlaw.com. $25 plus shipping. I can accept Venmo and PayPal.

The proceeds will be donated to a worthy cause and I am accepting suggestions as to which cause. Make your suggestion when you order.

I promise these will go fast, especially the larger sizes so I would jump on these sooner rather than later.

And I mean come on. Who doesn’t want to have a shirt that says what almost everyone who meets me is thinking within ten minutes.

Damn you Dale Boam.

Damn me indeed!

Rule 755

Let’s play “Ok/Not Ok”

Investing in an opportunity you heard about interpreting.

Not ok.

Learning CPR while interpreting for a Red Cross course and later performing CPR on a person having a heart attack.

That is Ok.

You see the obvious difference, right?

Rule 753

Stuff Uncle Dale Always Says, Explained:

Don’t be so easily impressed, I picked this video.

I have used this video to teach this principle for over 14 years. So, if I sound good interpreting it from ASL to Spoken Hearing, hint, I’ve seen it before…

However, that doesn’t mean I’m perfect. Back in the mid-1990s I helped collect videos of native Deaf ASL users telling stories and jokes for an ASL preservation library. I use some of the videos I collected in my classes to this day.

One of the stories is a man telling the Deaf King Kong joke. Remember I filmed this man telling this joke myself. I saw it live while it was recorded and have watched and used the video literally hundreds of times over the years since the day I collected it.

In 2017 a student in ASL to Spoken English suddenly said that the woman Deaf King Kong took up the building with him was named Jennifer. I dinged her for an addition error. She challenged me and… HOLY COW she was right! King Kong does say her name is Jennifer!

Not once, from the day I collected the video to that day, despite literally hundreds of viewings, had I ever noticed that detail. “A” for the day for that student!

Rule 752

Stuff Uncle Dale Always Says, Explained:

You are looking for underwear in your sock drawer, no matter how many times you dig through it you will only find socks. Time to look in other drawers.

When a student keeps making the same error over and over because they are stuck in the same habits instead of incorporating the new skill being taught.

Note From Uncle Dale: How to Live Forever.

Last night I had the opportunity to see the great Peter Cook and Kenny Lerner perform their poetry performance Flying Words.

It was fantastic. But of course it was, that almost goes without saying.

The room was packed with members of the Deaf community, interpreters, interpreting students, ASL students and their families. It was literally standing room only.

As the program began and Peter and Kenny were introduced my heart leapt to see that the interpreter was one of my former students, now graduated, certified and working as an interpreter at a local college. She was poised and confident and I could not have been more proud.

I looked around the room and saw many of my students, current and former, filling the audience. As I looked at each of them I remembered the laugher and tears I had with each one. Struggles and breakthroughs. Frustrations and insights.

But most of all I could see love. So much love. For each other, for the language, for the community. I am proud of each and everyone of them.

If I am to be remembered for anything let it be for them.

Now. Don’t think that I’m saying I made these interpreters what they are today. I just helped them to find the path and refined the edges.

There is a, possibly apocryphal, story about Michelangelo where someone asked him how he carved an angel from a block of marble and he replied:

I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free. Michelangelo

I’m not trying to aggrandize myself by saying I am comparable to one of the greatest artist in history. I am simply saying that we talk about him today because he saw the angel and set it free.

I looked at that room full of angels; those who are free and those still finding their wings and I smiled and thought, “if someday, at the end of my time here on this planet, I look back to see what I’ve left in the world for future generations and I see this room full of angels then even when I’m gone I will truly live forever in peace.”

Thank you Peter and Kenny. It was a wonderful show!

Rule 751

Elementary School Interpreters are real interpreters.

VRS Interpreters are real interpreters.

Legal Interpreters are real interpreters.

CDIs are real interpreters.

Middle School Interpreters are real interpreters.

VRI Interpreters are real interpreters

Freelance Interpreters are real interpreters

University Interpreters are real interpreters

Pre-K Interpreters are real interpreters.

Mental Health Interpreters are real interpreters.

High School Interpreters are real interpreters.