At the tender age of 8, I was
holding my own against my dad at a game of lawn darts, that is, until my dad
sent me to pick up the stray red darts. Standing right over them, I couldn't
find them. At first, my dad thought I was just being my usual troublesome self,
but the next day, the optometrist gave him the bad news.
"I'm sorry, but your son is color
My parents dissolved into tears,
and I did my best to comfort them. They thought of all the things I would never
be able to do. I thought of all the things I had already done and how much I
still had to do. I told them I was the same kid from the day before.
As grownups, they had already been
confronted by many things they had come to realize they could never do. As an
8-year-old, anything I couldn't do was just a matter of getting a bit
My first observation related to the
flash cards with the colored dots that the optometrist showed me. I wasn't very
interested in the number he could see that I couldn't. I was much more
interested in the number I could see that he couldn't. I had discovered that I
was a member of a secret society.
Had I been older and wiser, I might
have bought into my disability, but a kid is not that prone to listen to his
elders. Of course I was reminded of my limitations, but at that age, it was fun
to yell throughout our house, "I need a colored person" when I was matching
socks. I liked the attention.
My greatest disappointment related
to all this was when I was told by the US Navy that I couldn't enlist as a
fighter pilot. Of course that may have kept me from taking a dirt nap in
I've learned to compensate, such as
approaching traffic intersections carefully, ready for one of the "white"
lights to turn yellow. But I've also grown convinced that I can see more shades
of blue and yellow than "colored" people, particularly at the hour before
You may have noticed my
post-processing choices diverting into strange regions as I pursue photographs
that look good to my eyes. But with all the weird effects out there, I have
somehow found mine.
Had I learned that I was color
blind as a grown up, I would've been sensible enough never to pick up a
So, the next time you're faced with
an insurmountable obstacle, ask your kid what to do.