CELEBRATE. HOPE GOD WILLING DO FOR US ALSO.


When Dana and Casey walked in to the conference room, Jeremy and Natalie were already there, arguing, as usual.

"Admit it, you were talking about me," Natalie said.

"We were not talking about you," Jeremy said.

"Well, why weren't you? Isn't your family interested in me?" Natalie pouted.

Jeremy glared. "Do you want us to have been talking about you, or do you want us to have been not talking about you?"

"I want to have understood what you were saying," Natalie said, crossing her arms.

"I don't suppose we could plan the show?" asked Dana.

"Why couldn't you understand?" asked Casey. "Was Jeremy speaking French?"

"I understand French," Natalie said.

"Then you should have understood what Jeremy said when he was speaking French," said Kim, sliding into a chair across from Natalie.

"We went to my cousin's bat mitzvah," said Jeremy, in his best patient tone. "A lot of the service was in ASL, because my uncle and aunt are both Deaf."

"ASL?" asked Casey.

"American Sign Language," said Dan, who' d come in a moment before and was now patiently folding a paper football out of his copy of the show notes.

"The show?" asked Dana. "So we can talk about the baseball playoff race?"

"Wait a second," said Casey. "I thought it was your sister who was deaf."

"I think his entire family is deaf," Natalie said. "It would explain why he never listens to me."

Jeremy shot Natalie a dirty look. "Louise and my Uncle Charlie both have otosclerosis-induced hearing loss, and Charlie's wife Ruthie is Deaf as well. Their daughter Jessica can hear just fine, but she's bilingual in English and ASL."

"They kept talking in signs at the reception!" said Natalie. "I don't know what they were talking about."

"I told you," said Jeremy. "We were talking about Jessica's Torah portion, and then we were talking about how the chicken was dry."

"The chicken is always dry at bar and bat mitzvahs," said Dan. "I think at mine, they just saved us all the trouble and served us plates of sand."

"You had a bat mitzvah?" asked Casey.

Dan flicked the paper football at Casey's head. Casey reached up and caught it. "No, you idiot," said Dan. "I had a bar mitzvah. Because I'm a guy."

"I've got an idea, guys," said Dana. "How about we do our jobs."

"You speak sign language?" Kim asked Jeremy.

Jeremy nodded. "Not fluently, because Louise is so much younger than I am. But well enough to get by."

Dan made a pair of goalposts for Casey to flick the paper football back, but looked at Jeremy instead. "So, what, did she do her Torah portion in English sign or in Hebrew sign? Ow!" he added as the paper football hit him in the forehead.

"There's no such thing as English or Hebrew sign," said Jeremy. "Or there is, but that's not what actual Deaf people use. There's American sign language and Israeli sign language, but those are different from signed English or signed Hebrew."

"People, can we work now, please?" pleaded Dana.

"Well, did she do the portion in Israeli sign language or American sign language?" asked Elliott.

"It would be completely meaningless to have done it in Israeli sign language," said Jeremy. "Israeli sign language is not the same thing as Hebrew."

"English, then," said Dan.

Jeremy threw his hands in the air. Isaac opened the door and leaned in. "Dana, Belichick just apologized. You'll want to make room for it in the first ten."

"I would love to," said Dana. "And we could plan that segment if people would only start doing their jobs and talking about the show."

"Jeremy's cousin did her bat mitzvah in sign language," Dan explained to Isaac.

"Sign language and English both," Natalie said.

"Really?" said Isaac, stepping into the room. "Is she Deaf?"

"I think we should talk about the WNBA finals," said Dana, desperately. "Roger Federer's press conference. The Detroit Tigers' winning streak."

"No, but both her parents are," said Casey.

"She did both her speech and her prayer-thing in English and in sign language," said Natalie. "It was really cool."

"Esther Vergeer?" wailed Dana.

"I think you mean Torah portion, not prayer-thing," said Dan. Natalie waved her hand in dismissal.

"That's fantastic," said Isaac. "Jeremy, when you get a minute, I'd like to talk to you about sign interpretation for special events." He nodded and slipped back out of the room.

"I thought you found the whole experience unsettling," said Jeremy. "I thought you decided everyone was talking about you."

"That was before I thought about how useful sign language could be. I think you should teach it to me," said Natalie.

"What for?" asked Kim.

Natalie leered. "Well, you know. There are some private occasions when you want to communicate, but your mouth is otherwise occupied."

"Right! Working!" said Casey.

Dan covered his eyes and sang, "La la la la la."

"Belichick apologized, Isaac said?" asked Jeremy. "Let's put that in the first ten."

Dana just looked at Natalie, who was wiggling her fingers and grinning.

"Right, Belichick," she said, and pulled out her show notes.