A study has shown what signing deaf people have long suspected – that we pick up faster on body language. And it gets better – researchers at the University of California say that because we’re so canny at picking up on “subtle visual traits in the actions of others,” deaf folk could be suited to certain jobs, “such as airport screening.”
But before jumping into a career where we spend our days differentiating the grimaces of smugglers carrying a bellyful of cocaine-filled condoms from those of passengers who’ve had one too many vodkas to calm their pre-flight nerves, let’s not limit ourselves. There’s a whole range of jobs we can target our newly updated CVs at, and here are just a few of them…
Poker player. Since deafies have a natural ability to spot ‘tells,’ its time for us to stop playing one another in deaf-only tournaments (cancelling out our natural advantage) and start hustling hearing tournaments instead. Look out, Victoria Coren.
Bodyguard. Looking for someone who can block out all extraneous noise and spot that shifty assassin with gun in hand, only a trigger pull away from inspiring another Oliver Stone biopic? Deaf bodyguard is your man. If you book him an interpreter, he’ll even make like Kevin Costner and sweet-talk Whitney Houston after. Though whether he’d take a bullet for a hearing guy is a whole other question.
Pre-marriage counsellor. Who needs long sessions with a priest, or a pre-nup for that matter, when your deaf body language expert can tell you – after just a few moments in your company – whether your prospective spouse is in it for love or money? Special rates for former members of the Beatles.
Interpreter. For hearing people. For years, deaf people have employed hearing interpreters to translate verbal communication into sign, so it seems only fair that we give something back*. Whether you’re a confused hearing arts critic at a mime fest, or a hearing boss working out from non-verbal cues which candidate to give a job to – deaf ‘terps’ are ready to step in and make sense of the visual world for you. (*Subject to a £100 an hour charge and a minimum 3 hour booking time, with breaks every twenty minutes and no refund at all for cancellations.)