Why I’m Sitting Out The Eclipse

Everyone is fully hyped about the eclipse today.

Everyone except for yours truly.

I’m sitting this one out.

Been there, burned out my irises and came back to talk about it.

Let me explain.

Like many of you, I was jazzed the last time the great eclipse show came into town. I was out there with the rest of the jabronis in the parking lot at work, peering up at the heavens. Someone handed me a sheet, some kind of film, and I looked up, saw a very non-exciting circle with part of it shaded it and the rest of it blazing bright.

In hindsight, it might’ve been Saran Wrap I was looking through.

My eyes began hurting immediately. In my head, I could hear a voice of a news person saying “whatever you do, make sure you are looking through approved filter to view the eclipse.”

There is no way the person who handed me the sheet made sure the sheet was NASA approved. They could barely do their job.

The thought of this made my eyes hurt even more. Like a deep soreness I’d never felt before. It’s possible I did permanent damage to my eyes. And for what? Was I a better person after watching the eclipse with my own two eyes? No, I was still a mostly horrible human being.

Then I read about a rapper, an up and coming rapper who stared at the eclipse with no protection, and did permanent damage to his eyes. And my eye pain went up a few notches quickly. I was going to be blind soon.

And all of this because I didn’t stop to make sure the filter was a NASA approved space safety sheet of plastic.

The panic reminded me of a time when someone I worked with offered to take me up in a plane. He was training to be a flight instructor. I was younger and dumb. The same dumb I was when watching the last eclipse.

I remember getting up to cruising altitude and not feeling safe or stable. The window was open and there was a screen between me and the earth. And the pilot, I remember thinking this guy can’t even space out his appetizers to come out before people’s entrees, why did I trust him with my life.

I have not been in a small plane since. But it was that same panic that set in.

But I guygress.

I went to my optometrist. He examined my eyes. And he gave me the bad news.

“Your eyes are fine. You’re just nuts.”

He went on to say they had been talking and trying to figure out how long it would take someone to stare at the eclipse and do permanent damage. I think he had estimated at least a few minutes. But still, any kind of exposure could be potentially blinding.

When I was just a kid, my mom and I watched out our kitchen window and saw Haley’s Comet. It won’t be back for another 72 years and I remember crying that my Mom might not be around when it comes back. But you know what, if I hadn’t seen Haley’s Comet, my life would be no different. Regardless of whether I saw that really rare cosmic event, no change in my life. It wasn’t even that spectacular, it was just a ball of white light in the sky. To be honest, I’m. not even convinced what we saw was even Haley’s Comet and not a cloud. But at least we weren’t sacrificing our sight to watch it.

The idea of possibly hurting your eyes to watch something that isn’t even that interesting in the first place is bonkers. Don’t do it. Don’t be another sheep, flocking to the bright flame of cultural vapidity. Regardless of whether you look at the eclipse through Government Issued and Approved glasses or some NASA gamma ray tested filter, trust me, you will still be the same old horrible person you were before.

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