My son is color blind. I wish we all were.


Now Playing: “It’s a Big Old Goofy World,” John Prine

I took my son to the eye doctor today. He’d been complaining about his vision. I think, at 15, that he’s worried he won’t pass the vision test for his learner’s permit. I’m just glad he made it this long. I started wearing glasses at age 10, and it sucked.
Anyway, during the course of the eye exam, the doctor came out and asked whether I knew my son was color blind. He’d missed several blue-green images during the test. Color-blindness, he says, is often passed along from father to son.
That set me to thinking. I didn’t know he had problems with blue and green, but I do know that he doesn’t seem to distinguish between black and white – at least where friends come in. I think it’s true of a lot of the younger generation. My 11-year-old doesn’t really seem to make that distinction either.

Interlude: Now playing,”She Used to Smile,” Drag the River. “We’ve all got our pictures don’t we? We’ve all got our pride. We’ve all got our weak spots, the ones that we try to hide.”

I think of how different that was from when I was growing up outside South Boston, Va. I still remember white and black water fountains at the Leggett store downtown, the blacks-only balcony at the theater downtown, the segregated schools.
I hate that I still remember it, but I’m glad too. The cruelty that people are capable of shouldn’t be forgotten. It’s why I hate it when someone asks me if someone is white or black? My standard answer: What does it matter?
Thankfully, it doesn’t matter to my kids. We could learn a lot from them.
That’s why I don’t mind too much if my son is color blind. And if he got it from me, it may be the best gift ever.

“How many years can a mountain exist, Before it’s washed to the sea? How many years can some people exist, Before they’re allowed to be free? How many times can a man turn his head, Pretending he just doesn’t see? The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind, The answer is blowin’ in the wind.”

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