Archive for the December 2013 Category


Editor’s note: This is a response (written 12/17) to my commentary on this essay. This was the commentary —

A moving piece, to be sure. I wonder though — the toilet might have been the last thing Pop saw, but I wonder about some of the other absolutes. What’s the prettiest thing that he remembers seeing? The ugliest? Has the memory of how any objects look faded away? Is there anything in particular that he has no idea what it looks like, or anything that he couldn’t possibly forget even if he wanted to? Hopefully he’ll see this and answer a question or two.

Read more of Pop’s thoughts re: toilets (because why wouldn’t you want to do that?) here.


Hey Kevin –

I saw the questions after the Ode to a Commode and this is my answer.

I hope you will excuse the thoroughly disjointed response that I am about to make.  Early in life I realized that glaucoma runs in the Carr family.  And I knew that if I lived long enough, it would blind me.  The fact of the matter is that I did live long enough to be blinded by glaucoma.  My elder brother Charles Halley, died earlier in his sixtieth year so he was no one to judge when I would become blind.

On the other hand, the third brother in line was Earl and he became blind somewhere in his seventh year.  I lost one of my eyes to a trabeculectomy in 1994.  I believe it was the left eye.  My right eye held out and gave me sight until 2005, which would have been my 83rd year of life.

However, in that year, the lights went out.  I had plenty of warning that this would happen so I was not unduly surprised.  In the beginning I regarded the loss of sight as a challenge.  But as time went on, the loss of sight has turned out to be a large pain in the ass.

I do not recall many of the procedures that took place prior to my loss of sight.  Perhaps this is a mechanism that prevents unpleasant subjects from coming up.  In any case, the loss of sight has turned out to be a monumental problem and becomes more so each passing day.

For example, one of the problems has to do with balance.  I am unable to see shifts in the road which would cause me to lose balance.  If you want to experience this, you can close your eyes tightly and try walking across the room.  The other issue is concentration.  If I am walking from my chair in the living room to my chair at the kitchen table, I cannot daydream or lose any concentration.  My mind must be on the subject of balance and direction from point A to point B.  there are landmarks along the way such as a familiar object that will remind me that I am on the right or wrong path.

One thought as we go forward is that it does not matter how many times I get from point A to point B, the challenge still exists every time I stand on my feet.  I fear for the day when I am no longer able to stand.

Now to get to your questions.  What I am about to answer will be a disappointment because I do not recall what was the prettiest thing I ever saw.  Time has eroded that memory.  Things that go through my mind are the first appearances of my daughters, old Blondie and Spooky Suze.

I have seen a lot of things in my travels throughout the world but none of them are overwhelming memories at this time.  They simply exist and I can do nothing about them.

Now as for the ugliest thing I ever saw, I simply do not remember, and that is a good thing.

Things I have forgotten:  I have forgotten the local roadways and towns.  If Judy mentions a specific house that is being torn down or remodeled, I cannot picture it.  She might start by saying, “Do you remember that old cemetery on Springfield Avenue in New Providence?”  The answer is that, mostly, I do not.  For example, I have forgotten what downtown Millburn and downtown Summit look like.

Things I have no idea what they look like:  our Honda Accord.

Things I could not forget even if I wanted to (which I don’t)…Shannon, our beloved cat.

As for the issue of blindness, it is not a matter of the world going dark so much as it is a matter of looking and seeing absolutely nothing.  Tonight I went to the front door not to look out, but to feel the rush of fresh cold air on my face.

During the Second World War, we were opposed by Adolph Hitler.  I would not wish blindness to befall Mr. Hitler who has gone to the ages.  But the fact of the matter is that as much as I disliked Adolph Hitler, I would never want blindness to come to him.  I believe that sentiment describes my feeling about blindness.

I realize that this is a disjointed response.  But I also believe my remarks on Adolph Hitler sums up my feelings about blindness.  It started off as a challenge but it ended long ago with my thoughts that it is now endurance.

I realize this is disjointed response to your question Kevin, but it is the best I can do for now.   As you can tell, Judy has helped me with this exercise and I would suggest that as things go forward, she is your best resource as to how I am doing.

There are several hundred other thoughts about the drawbacks of blindness which I do not wish to recall at this time because they are depressing.  Those are all good questions, Kevin, and they are worth thinking about.



Kevin’s commentary on the commentary:  I wasn’t disappointed in this whatsoever. The only shame is that Pop doesn’t know the beauty of his Bump Enhancer. For our readers who are interested in Shannon, this is the only picture of her that I have access to at this time.  I feel like Pop probably had a lot in common with that cat. Quiet and attentive.

This isn’t an official essay but it’s still a favorite. I’ll have to ask  more questions in the future!