LINGUISTICS & CULTURE
|Data:||26/SET/2005 3:56 PM|
I used to play blindman's bluff (bluff, not buff).
My favorite childhood memory is my fifth birthday.
In the States, one of my best friends is blind. He lost one eye in a stupid accident when he was about ten, and he lost the other eye a year later in another accident that was just as stupid. The woman he married has an eye condition that jumps generations. She and her siblings have it, their kids are fine, but their grandkids will have it. The grandchildren will begin to lose their vision when they are about twenty, and within a few years they will either be completely blind or nearly so.
John is a remarkable man. He can play any instrument you put in his hands. He has taught music at the Braille Institute in Los Angeles and the Los Angeles City College. For years he had his own band. Maria is just as remarkable and talented. John became president of my Lions Club and Maria the secretary.
Have you ever tried to cheat a blind person at dominoes? Don't waste your time. I tried it many times, and I was always caught. The other players were blind, not stupid.
Can you believe he used to drive a car? No, not in the city... But in the country on a dirt road he would drive a car. When the tires started to come out of the ruts, he knew he had to turn the steering wheel. Yes, he had someone with him. (A driver for Ray Charles said that Charles once demanded that he be permitted to drive. Within seconds he had hit something, perhaps a wall. When the police arrived, the driver tried to explain that Charles had been driving. Nobody would believe him, of course!)
One night John and I went to a casino for dinner. As we were walking along, he asked me what he had bumped into. I told him it was a statue of a woman. He began to feel the breasts of the statue. I said, "John, stop that! People are looking at you!" He replied. "I can't see them." I used to hide his white cane. In fact, I played a lot of tricks on him. It was the best thing I could have done. He wanted to be treated as John, not as John the Blind Guy.
The blind have their own brand of humor, ways to shake hands, prejudices, etc. As my son said once when he was about ten years old, "Dad, they're just like us but they can't see." There is a lot of truth to that. A lot of truth.
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