If you do it, you’ll go blind, that’s what they say — looking at the eclipse without special dark glasses that is…

There’s going to be a total eclipse of the sun in about three hours, that is from the time I am actually writing this: DON’T LOOK UP. You’ll go blind.

That’s the warning.

I’m sure it is good advice. Seriously. But isn’t that the same threat that was used against doing something else — you’ll go blind?

But anyway, there is this caveat or exception to the eclipse warning. If you have special dark glasses then you can look at it. But not just any dark glasses.

Well you better be sure and it’s a little late now. I just read that Dutch Brothers Coffee is recalling what were identified as solar eclipse glasses they handed out to customers. Seems they are not sure they are safe.

And then on Facebook someone posted a call to keep your pets inside. They might look up and go blind.

I guess it would not hurt to be safe. But it made me think: I mean we have had these eclipses before and I did not read about all the wild animals going blind. Or actually I did not read about any animals, wild or otherwise, going blind. But then we might not know, I suppose.

As for me, I did not get any special glasses — I haven’t even ever patronized Dutch Brothers (and that makes me think: what if they had passed out free condoms? … and then had to recall them).

And by the way, I’m sure Dutch Brothers is a great outfit. I’ve seen their  kiosks all over the place. Just never got around to checking them out. I see that the local homeless population does though. You see them parading up and down the local streets with their Dutch Brothers coffee cups. I mean if you pay no rent, you have more money for coffee.

For some reason I can’t get excited about this eclipse. Maybe because I will not be able to actually watch it live, as it were. I do not live right in the path of where it is supposed to be visible but I gather I am close enough that it will affect my area nonetheless.

I went through one at a newspaper I was working at in 1979. But I had no part in covering it. I think our photographer made one of those pin-hole cameras to record it. I don’t know what I was doing. Probably writing a story about some farmer. I was the “farm editor”. Don’t laugh. I needed a job. And that is the same line I use at my current occupation (which I should be retired from by now) as a truck driver.

But in all seriousness, this eclipse thing where the sun is blocked out by the moon makes me think of how vulnerable we are here on earth. We depend upon the sun but we have no control over it or all the other things that make our universe work. And besides, our lifespan is minute compared to the age of the universe which dates back to, well forever. I mean what came before? And how could there have been a beginning anyway? Because that would beg the question of what came before the beginning.

But for all of you who are prepared to watch the eclipse with your special eclipse-safe shades, I envy you for having the good sense to be prepared and being able to watch it safely and then being able to tell what you saw and how it made you feel or just being able to claim (truthfully) you did it. Maybe they will have T-shirts for sale saying: “I survived watching the eclipse — and didn’t go blind”.

And seriously, I am sure this event is a good teaching tool for science classes.

We could use more of that. If we were to raise a more science-literate population then those future adults could laugh climate-change denying politicians out of office and do all of humanity a favor.

Enjoy the dark. But don’t look up unless you have the correct dark glasses.





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