Cover image for Deaf peddler : confessions of an inside man
Deaf peddler : confessions of an inside man
Buck, Dennis S.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Washington, D.C. : Gallaudet University Press, [2000]

Physical Description:
xxvi, 110 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HF5459.U6 B83 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Having panhandled as a "deaf" man for 11 years, the author has written a book exposing all the ins and outs of his life exploiting a "disability" to earn hundreds of dollars a day and sheds light on the cultural phenomenon of deaf peddling that thrives today. Illustrations.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The thought of an educated deaf individual becoming a peddler has always been a sad image in the minds of educators and informed members of the deaf community. Buck, deaf from birth and wheelchair bound since college, tells about his life, not necessarily in chronological order but in the context of the history of the deaf peddler. His courage during physical rehabilitation from a motorcycle accident matches his gutsy approach to learning how to peddle and how to handle competition in airports. Moreover, Buck's ideas about designing deaf communication brochures and about working airport locations are quite creative. Because peddling was more lucrative than his paying jobs and because he needed extra cash while going to graduate school, Buck continued this practice until he decided that his self-esteem was more important than money. His final line on the financing of his book tells it all: "Money given under the false notion that deaf people can't, financed a book telling everyone yes, they can." Nancy McCray

Publisher's Weekly Review

This pedestrian memoir is a confessional narrative in the strictest sense. Buck, a deaf man with a graduate degree in computer science, confesses that from 1985 to 1996, he earned money as a peddler, working either part-time or full-time, in airports, restaurants and malls. Born in 1960 to hearing parents, Buck was doing well in his first year at Gallaudet University when a motorcycle accident left him paralyzed from the chest down. He eventually returned to Gallaudet in a wheelchair and completed his undergraduate studiesÄbut, insecure and troubled, he soon found that he could make good money by distributing sign language cards to pedestrians and requesting a donation. In clear prose, Buck provides a brief history of deaf peddlers (who are, to this day, ostracized by most other deaf people), and tells his own storyÄthe years when peddling was just a lucrative sideline (while he was employed as a neural network engineer at Wright Patterson Air Force base); his stint as a full-time peddler at Chicago's O'Hare Airport; his frequent run-ins with the police. He also vividly describes the rings of illegal immigrants, some deaf, who are smuggled into the U.S. and forced to peddle for the profit of their exploiters. But this account seems aimed at condemning his former life and the deaf men and women who still peddle. Wracked by shame about his own past, the reformed peddler boasts of his strong work ethic and argues against charity and social security programs for deaf people. B&w illustrations. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

If the publisher were not well respected, this book could be mistaken for a vanity publication. Buck, who is a deaf paraplegic, writes of his life as a peddler of "deaf cards" in airports despite having an advanced degree in computer science and periodically working at responsible jobs. Peddling as a way of life is largely frowned upon by the deaf community, and Buck tries to explain why he has done it for so long (lots of easy money) and to apologize to his deaf peers. The result, however, is self-serving and whiny. In a style reminiscent of a college paper, Buck tries to justify his peddling by rationalizing that the hearing donors are "navefools" and that the government encourages this sort of "welfare cheating" through loopholes in disability benefits. Purchase only where interest in deaf culture is high; otherwise, not recommended.DAnn Forister, Roseville P.L., CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Forewordp. vii
Acknowledgmentsp. xxi
Prologuep. xxiii
Chapter 1. History of Deaf Peddlingp. 1
Chapter 2. My Storyp. 12
Chapter 3. Early Days on the Roadp. 34
Chapter 4. O'Hare and Beyondp. 57
Chapter 5. On My Ownp. 84
Chapter 6. Reflections and Renewalp. 101