Friday, March 07, 2008

Vision [CCR]

My fancy cable television service became confused today and a short conversation with the company helped resolve the issue but brought me to a new level of reality. I simply wanted to check out their upgraded “on demand” service. Most of the regular television programs today do not really appeal to me and I find myself watching science or nature channels in hopes of keeping my mind sharp. Frankly, I should be working on the fence in the lower pasture or preparing our summer garden. The gentleman on the other end of the line agreed that we should cycle power on the unit and that is where the revelation began.

As a child I fancied myself on my capability to read signs from a distance. I would look for road signs at a distance and challenge myself to read the sign before anyone else in the family car. I guess I never really gave thought to the precious gift God gave me in vision. I simply used it to my advantage. I can remember my Grandparents having glasses and complaining when they couldn’t find them.

The day finally came when I first saw my parents wearing glasses. It was slightly amusing to me as I still didn’t have a true appreciation of my gift. Over the years they slowly transitioned from a simple pair of glasses to bifocals. Maybe we attribute the changes to age, but sometimes more than age has a factor. Thankfully our friends at the Lions’ Clubs across America have helped champion the cause and educate us all on the importance of eye care.

But soon my turn came to sit in the chair with all the fuddling gadgetry. The doctor placed drops in my eyes to make them dilate and I believe I could see in total darkness. They carried me through the pain of bright lights, pressure tests, and other various fiddling with both my eyes and my nerves. At the end of the tests he affirmed my stigmatism. I had subsisted thirty six years without glasses, but now my turn had come. I just couldn’t stand the thought of placing anything in my eyes so contact lenses were out of the question.

A few years passed and as I entered my fifth decade (that’s forties if you count from zero) the doctor declared a slight case of near sightedness. Now I am on my second pair of “blended” bifocals. Bifocals are simply a fancy word for saying you have to bend your head in every direction to find the right focus. I now have a true appreciation for those games I played as a child and I also appreciate all the work generations have put into developing eyewear. Now I am dependent on their contributions.

The cable television company technician on the telephone had asked me to cycle the power on the box. I couldn’t bend my head back far enough to make my bifocals work and I didn’t want to admit I only saw white lines below the buttons rather than letters. After a brief pause he told me to look in the middle so I pushed the button nearest the middle. The display only blinked and returned to the error. After two or three tries I decided I must have the wrong button or my converter must be really confused. I reached behind the unit and pulled the power. I could now lift the unit and see I was simply pressing some display format button and the power button was on the opposite end. I plugged the box back in and it reset itself. I never had the heart to tell the technician I was choosing random buttons, but the frustration in his voice led me to believe he knew.

All of our service clubs do wonderful work in providing benefits to our community. This incident gave me a new appreciation for our Lions. The next time you see the folks in the purple Lions’ Club outfits asking for support give them a lending hand. I truly believe you will learn to appreciate their contribution. As for my television, maybe I should have stuck to the single channel on black and white television with the antenna behind the house that carried me so faithfully through childhood.