In The Land Of The Blind, The One-Eyed Man Is King

I went to the gym yesterday to squeeze in a couple games of racquetball with my friend Eric.

He was late as usual (presumably had something to do with the Fed’s 1/2 point rate cut), so as I was patiently waiting outside our court, I noticed something odd in the bottom corner of the “Court 1” sign.  It was braille.

Don’t get me wrong here.  I get the whole “I’m not handicapped, I’m handi-capable” thing and I’m certainly not suggesting physically-impaired people can’t enjoy – or even excel at – anything they want to.  I’m sure there are plenty of blind people that can play racquetball better than Eric! 

Fact is, my polio-stricken grandfather spent the better part of his life in a wheel chair (he always called it his “Cadillac”).  While to the best of my knowledge he wasn’t athletic in a sports-sense, I never once heard him use his ‘caddy’ as an excuse for not being able to do something. 

That taught me a lot.

When I was a kid, I even had such a fascination with blindness that I’d often come home from school and cover my eyes with a bandana just to ‘get a feel’ for what it must be like to function without one of my five senses.  I’d see how long I could deal with sensory deprivation.  I would usually last right up to the time when the commercials on MTV ended and the videos started playing again.

Of course, I was hoping that my visionless experiment would also allow me develop a super-natural sense of hearing to compensate, but I suspect my love of LOUD heavy metal completely wiped out any “super-sense” I might have gained.

Back to yesterday… I just really wanted to understand why the gym would add braille to a racquetball court sign – a sport, which as far as I’m aware requires the ability to see. 

Is it a warning intended to minimize those rare, but very preventable accidents you fear you may one day see on the evening news? 

…And don’t tell me you don’t lie awake at night with the nightmare that sometime, somewhere (Probably Idaho.  Or maybe Arkansas.) – a seeing-eye dog turns to the dark side and leads his owner straight into the middle of a racquetball tournament where all hell breaks loose… arrghhhh, somebody please pinch me and tell me this is just a dream…

Or is it more likely that this is yet another patronizing example of “Equal Opportunity” and “Fairness for all”?  If the politically correct continue to reach too far away from the ladder of reasonable thinking, sooner or later they will certainly take a tumble.  

Anyway, Eric finally showed up and I – “the jock” – naturally assume an easy cruise to victory whenever playing against a 40-something financial advisor (wouldn’t YOU?). 

I discovered that even investment-junkies have their day in the sun once in awhile.  I got beat soundly and the racquetball gods have clearly spoken.  Next time, I’ll pay more attention to the game and less on the sign outside the door.

Good game, Eric.  See ya’ at the gym again real soon.


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