If the dude above looks even vaguely familiar, it’s because he’s Daveed Diggs, Broadway Tony-award-winning star of Hamilton, guests appearances on TV’s Law & Order SVU and a couple of season’s on black-ish and also of this year’s film, Blindspotting. So if he does indeed seem familiar to you, it’s because he is. By the way, I did neglect to mention that he won a Grammy award for the soundtrack (if theatrical plays have one) for Hamilton. I need to mention here that this post isn’t about Daveed Daniele Diggs.
The open captioned dialogue box on the image above proclaims “periods without shame.” The periods he is referring to is a woman’s menstrual cycle.
To be quite honest, it really isn’t about “tampons” (feminine hygiene napkins) either. Before I digress too much, it is somewhat related to tampons, but only tangentially. It is most definitely related to my innate ability to confuse finger-spelling words and misrepresenting myself – repeatedly.
Author’s note: Both I and my identical twin brother are Deaf. Our method of communication is through sign language rather than hearing and speech. This differing ability does produce some “interesting” moments when communicating with those who’s primary communication tool is through hearing and speech.
During the first decade of this century (it is still the 21st century, correct?), I would travel to sunny Florida every year during my university’s Spring Break. A well-earned reward for surviving yet another harsh and hateful winter in the mid-Atlantic region of the East Coast, USA. A celebration of perseverance and steadfastness. I overcame adversity and lived to share my story. That type of week-long Spring Break festivity. I needed to rid myself of the winter drudgery and renew my soul and spirit.
My destination was always Indian Rocks Beach in Florida. A relatively unknown beach located on the Gulf of Mexico, about a thirty minute drive from the Tampa International Airport. The location was away from the popular beaches and significantly reduced any chance of me encountering any of my students, current or former, who were also enjoying their Spring Break from winter and from me! Neither of us needed any last minute surprises on our own time – we had quite enough of one another on campus.
The friend that accompanied me on these little mini-vacations from winter and the classroom discovered a little known Florida community, Tarpon Springs. It was originally settled by Greeks over a century ago and developed into a prosperous town of Greek immigrant sponge fishermen (divers). It continues to evolve into a destination that promotes not only Greek heritage but the Hellenistic culture in general.
Towards the end of our week there, my friend and I decided to visit and explore this little Greek sanctuary. Brochures and an online search indicated that it was only approximately an hours drive from our base in Indian Rocks Beach. Well known by local residents, it was for us a new adventure and a new location to photograph.
We visited and it was nice. Different in that it was Florida, USA and not my homeland but it was comforting to see more Greek flags flying than USA flags. And in the commercial district, it was most welcoming to see Greek Sign Language being used to communicate regardless if only one or both persons holding the dialogue were Deaf or not.
When I returned to campus after that particular Spring Break, I naturally shared my trip with my faculty colleagues and all of my students. It was only the second day since classes had resumed that one of my students corrected my finger-spelling of the city in Florida that we had discovered. Instead of properly spelling Tarpon Springs, the name of the place, I was spelling it as Tampon Springs, the name of the women’s sanitary napkin.
I immediately recognized my error. The class laughed and I had no choice except to laugh along with them. It was, indeed, a very honest yet humorous mistake that I had made. I also had to remember everyone with whom I had shared my travel adventures and give them the correct information: it was T-a-r-p-o-n Springs, not T-a-m-p-o-n Springs that we had visited.
Almost everyone immediately saw the humor in the predicament and laughed. A very few of my professional colleagues, rather than laugh, commented that they wondered about this place that I had visited. Would anyone actually consider living or working in a place named after a woman’s sanitary product?
I’m really amazed that no one pointed out my error. But then, I guess everyone considered the source (yours truly) and simply took it as another example of my very unique thought process. There are some things in life that one can never escape!