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The Steuben Courier Advocate
  • Costa Living: On becoming ‘legally blind’

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  • I have been dreading writing this column for 25 years. Recently, I was classified as “legally blind.”
    That doesn’t mean I can’t see anything. That condition is called “profoundly blind.”
    I can see shapes and figures, light and dark, a house, a barn, a horse.
    Shaving is difficult because it is one of those mid-range activities, neither close nor far, and my eyes seem to have skipped this range. I also have macular degeneration that makes rectangles look like old glass milk bottles.
    I will have to surrender my driver’s license. I picture standing in front of an honor guard, all of whom carry windshield wiper blades instead of rifles.
    I know legal blindness is nothing to joke about but that is what I do: I try to lift the spirits of even the most desperate and bring some laughter to the sufferer himself, but because I am the sufferer in this case, let it be known that I laughed out loud at my “honor guard.”
    In truth I have lost my sight over the past 25 years and have had 10 eye operations via scalpel. As a writer, losing one’s sight is the unkindest cut because we spend all our time describing, illustrating and opening as many visual doors as we can.
    Now more and more of the doors are memories, but I can still open them and share the images within.
    So I may be legally blind, but I still can see.
    Peter Costa is a columnist for GateHouse Media and is the author of two books of humor and a novel, “The Priest’s Gamble.”
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