Monday, June 27, 2005

Iron Eyes

They say you shouldn’t look at the sun because it burns your eyes. I find myself staring at it today, and I realise that it doesn’t burn. Al, my neighbour, his eyes are long burnt (he’s a diabetic and every few months he sits down in front of a laser where they burn off yet more retinal cells, in some hermetic technique that’ll save the rest of his vision, or at least blind him enough so that he can’t swing punches when they present the bill…) but mine are clear, weirdly un-cauterised.
Because I’m not looking at the sun. And not in a pseudo-epistemological “Menard’s Quixote was superior to Cervantes’s” the sun is not a thing that can be looked at, cos even a pseudo-sun will still pop those fragile rods and cones on your pseudo-retina. No, I’m looking at the sun and it doesn’t burn. Perhaps, it’s the thousand fricative filters between me and the sun; auroras, gas pockets, floating cometary debris, the earth’s atmosphere in its innumerable layers, clouds, smog, the leaves of that tree, the window, my glasses, the filth on both of those, my eyelashes, capillaries… perhaps the query shouldn’t be ‘why doesn’t the sun burn?’ but rather ‘how the frick can I see anything at all with this intervening scum?’

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