My Heart Is an Idiot
It must've been similar reasoning that induced me, growing up, to make fun of my mom for being deaf. She'd lost her hearing through a mysterious illness three years before I was born, and I grew up speaking sign language with her. I picked it up easily, like any kid in a bilingual household, watching my dad and my older brother speak to her in sign. My first word, I've been told, was the middle finger.
I took advantage of my mom's deafness in small ways at first. In the car, she'd be driving and trying to lecture me about something, but I'd have the radio cranked so loud I couldn't hear her. As long as I kept the bass down, how was she to know that I was nodding along to the Fresh Prince song "I Think I Can Beat Mike Tyson" and not to her instructions on how to clean out the gutters? She never understood the looks she got from other drivers, who must have been baffled to see a middle-aged mom tooling slowly along in an Aerostar, blasting Def Leppard at rock concert volume. Funniest, to me, was the time we pulled up alongside a cop and I slipped in my N.W.A tape from the glove box, cued to the song "Fuck tha Police."
Then there were the stunts I pulled in grade school to impress the kids in my neighborhood. My mom would be washing dishes, her back turned to the kitchen, and I'd sneak up behind her, a few kids in tow, and yell at the top of my lungs, "Hey, BITCH!! Hey, you fuckin' BITCH!!" Then we'd all run, laughing and screaming, out of the room.