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The Frustration Factor

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Can’t See seldom equals Can’t Do

If I tell you that I am blind, what comes to mind? Now if I simply tell you that I can’t see, how does the picture in your mind’s eye change? Likely the change is significant.

The point is that telling someone that I’m blind seems to bring to mind a mixed bag of ideas and emotions about what that means in general and about me specifically. For the most part, people think about what I can’t do, causing them to feel sorry for me. Of course, not everyone is so limited in their understanding, but most are.

If instead I tell them that I can’t see, people are frequently not sure what to do or what to say. This is good news for me. They are then focused on what they should say or do next and not on ideas and notions they have about blind people that may be true, but often aren’t true for me – or for most blind people for that matter.

On, I share tips about things I have done and can do. If you or someone you know can’t see, the tips may be helpful. If you can see, they may help you get a better handle when hanging out with people who can’t see. I hope the tips and discussion also help you be slower to pre-judge what people can and cannot do just because they can’t see.

I also invite you to ask any questions you may have about people who can’t see, just how they do things they do, or whatever else comes to mind. If I don’t know, I’ll try to find someone who does. Just send your questions or suggestions to

Since I don’t know everything about people who can’t see and how they are able to do what they do, please share your tips and suggestions with me and with others who visit the site. This will give us the chance to learn together. Along with sharing what you know how to do without seeing, be Shure to let us know how you manage to do it. Just send your tips to

For each new tip on, I post the text version, along with an audio version that can be listened to as a podcast. I have one of my many voices read each tip so you can simply subscribe to the podcast and listen to it on your phone or computer. It is also available as a podcast on your smart speaker. Just search for Blind How podcast.

If that has us in sync with the purpose of and how it works, let’s get on with it. I’ll start with a few tips I have perfected over the years, and you can join with a question or tip as one comes to mind for you. Just pop an email on over to and I will format it for and post it as soon as I can. Also, if you disagree with any tip or want to clarify, an email to is the best way to let me know.

Thanks, and enjoy. Be well, do well and please join our adventure into a world where some of us can’t see.

When Not To Do What’s Expected

Here’s The Thing

Figuring out how to deal with it would be easier if I had an outline. I could just move from point to point, only needing to fill in the details as I proceed. Knowing what I was doing wouldn’t be necessary. I would always just be following the outline. I could easily convince myself that I was my own person, acting on my own initiative, but that outline would always be there. Once I figured out how to complete the current step, I would know in advance what the next step would be, and the one after that, and the one after that. Maybe not my plan, but I could feel like it was my plan.

But what is the it in figuring out how to deal with it? Unfortunately, there is little difference whether it is life itself or the project I am working on today, whether it is how I spend my week or how to peel a banana. There is always an outline, a set of habitual steps or usual procedures. Most of the time and in most situations, I know what comes next. I need only follow the outline.

Now and then, I come across a situation, circumstance or problem where knowing what to do or how to proceed aren’t obvious. There appears not to be an outline. Nothing is telling me what’s next.

Here’s The Thing

When the situation, circumstance or problem passes – and they always eventually pass – I look back at what I did or didn’t do, how I dealt with whatever was going on. From that perspective, I assess my actions or lack of action. I now see what wasn’t apparent. I understand why I did or did not do this or that, what I could have or shouldn’t have done. I am able to retrospectively recognize the outline I followed or perhaps the outline I should have followed. The outline was there for me had I been smart enough, clever enough or insightful enough to see it and then follow it.

I’m not thinking that there is always a best way or right way to proceed. Even so, I do think that there are always better ways and worse ways, more correct and more incorrect ways to deal with things. Sometimes the outline is explicit, including specific step by step instructions; and sometimes it’s little more than guidelines or implicit suggestions. Even so, the outline is there, encouraging me to follow along.

Here’s The Thing

Since the outline is always there either prospectively or retrospectively, seeing it doesn’t seem like it should be such a hit and miss kind of thing for me. Even more confounding is thinking that I see the outline but learning later that the outline I picked was the wrong outline. I don’t get it. A good or at least sufficient outline is always there, so why do I sometimes pick the wrong outline or skip over the outline thing altogether?

I’m embarrassed to admit to how many times I have glanced at the instructions for one thing or another and tossed them aside or even worse, didn’t even bother with a glance. Granted, that usually works out but sometimes things don’t quite get the outcome I expect. More often than I want to admit, the outcome is far worse than I could have imagined. That happens with written instructions but also comes up when I don’t listen to the directions or advice of people who should and do know better than I do. I just plough ahead.

At other times, I know I don’t know what to do or how to do things but decide to proceed anyway. I tell myself things like I’ll fake it until I make it or perhaps convince myself that I can get away with making it up as I go along. Since I’m confessing, the truth is that I think I’m smart enough and clever enough to get away with just acting like I know what I’m doing. …

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So You Want a Super Power; But What If…?

Scene 1:

Were I to tell you that our protagonist in the tale I’m about to tell you is tall, dark and handsome, you might ding me for falling back on warn out clichés but we would likely get past my literary laziness. If instead I described the leading character as short, fat and ugly, you would probably hesitate long enough to wonder if you are interested in what happens. But if I were to tell you that short, fat and ugly actually describes the villain in the tale, all would be well.

Were I to tell you that our protagonist in the tale I’m about to tell you has extraordinary personal skills, unique talents and access to exceptional resources, not only would you likely express no surprise, you would have been surprised if having at least one of the three (extraordinary personal skills, unique talents or access to exceptional resources) was not the case. That’s just what’s expected for any self-respecting protagonist. The villain in our tale may also have extraordinary personal skills, unique talents and access to exceptional resources but has to use them to indiscriminately pursue illegal, immoral or evil ends. The villain has to play bad guy to our protagonist good guy.

Were I to tell you that our protagonist in the tale I’m about to tell you is brilliant, clever and willing to skirt the rules to thwart the villain, I suspect you would be all in, ready to cheer and be amazed. It’s not a problem if the villain is also brilliant and clever but skirting the rules has a quite different flavor. Where our protagonist’s rule skirting can only serve to thwart the villain and close associates, all rules are off for the villain. Causing harm indiscriminately to whomever gets in the way is business as usual for villains. Even so, in the end the villain is not quite as brilliant and clever as our protagonist and indiscriminate rule skirting turns out to be the key to the villain’s downfall.

In the tale I’m about to tell you, the protagonist is not tall, dark and handsome; does not have extraordinary personal skills, unique talents and access to exceptional resources; and is certainly not brilliant, clever and willing to skirt the rules to thwart the villain. I share this with you up front with a good measure of concern and apprehension. What will you do as soon as you find out that our protagonist fits none of your preconceptions of the protagonist in any tale you know of or have ever imagined? Even worse, what will you do when you discover that this tale has no villain, with or without brilliance, cleverness or dastardly rule-skirting proclivities? I worry but know that there is not much else for me to do but to take a deep breath and trust that you will hang in there with me.

Scene 2:

I might as well get this out of the way right now. Our protagonist has a name so continuing to say “our protagonist” is not necessary. His name is Bert. I know, any of us could have come up with a better name for the protagonist of most any tale but Bert it is. As I have taught myself to say when things don’t go like I might have preferred, it is what it is. So Bert it is and Bert it shall stay.

Bert is neither tall nor short. He is what they call about average. He is not particularly handsome or ugly either, although his mother still calls him her handsome boy. Go figure. Mothers do that sort of thing. He is also neither especially brilliant nor clever. Again, when I think of Bert, “average” comes to mind. When you get down to it, he is pretty much like the rest of us – somewhere in between. The same so-so works for Bert as works for me and perhaps for you.

Bert is not old but is not young either. He is in that comfortable time between being too young to be taken seriously yet or too old to be taken seriously any more. He has reconciled with his more or less unremarkable skills and talents and is really okay with just being Bert. When he was young, he fit in fine with others his age, sharing the same frustrations, the same challenges and the same fantasies. That hasn’t changed much over the years. He still has his frustrations, his challenges and his fantasies. The main change has come with new fantasies. Visions of being a super hero with amazing powers of some ilk have transitioned to not being in the middle any more. Bert daydreams of being the best, the most successful, the winner in whatever game he envisions for himself.

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