What the average adult can see if he/she is 20 feet away from an object; “20/20 vision” is the shorthand way we say that, right?
When I was a young boy growing up in Chattanooga, TN I would look up at the stars at night and see a corona of light around a spot in the sky. I saw that same corona when I looked at our Christmas tree lights. I didn’t know it then, but I was nearsighted, and eventually had to get glasses, because I couldn’t read the chalkboard at school.
Now that I’m older I’ve added farsightedness to the mix, plus the inability to see well in the dark, so I’m a real combo now. (Don’t laugh! Because this picture show just might be viewing in your area sooner than you think. Ha!)
Amidst all the jokes and humorous memes about the year 2020 and how we might remember it, I have been pondering the difference between how people feel at the very moment something is happening, and how historians describe that same time period many years hence.
And it caused me to think about our expression 20/20 vision. Because whatever you may think about the year 2020 right now . . . I dare say in the future you may not necessarily see it the same way.
Right now some think they have 20/20 clarity about the pandemic, the politics, the racial unrest, and the financial woes of this year. But historically speaking, that’s bound to change.
I don’t mean that most of us will end up saying, “My goodness, 2020 was my favorite year after all.” But it would be foolish to think our attitudes and points of view toward it have no chance of changing.
I remember when 9/11 happened in 2001, and the country was united, and we wanted someone to pay for what had occurred, the sooner the better! But with time . . . although our hurt and disgust remained, our resolve to “go get ’em” was slowly diluted by the scandal surrounding supposed WMDs.
My first well remembered tragedy was John Kennedy’s assassination, Friday, Nov. 22, 1963, followed two days later by the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas, TX. Outrage, grief, and unity possessed our country. But with time . . . although our hurt and disgust remained, more details and conspiracy theories emerged. And what seemed clear, simple, and forthright began to change into something complex.
How many historical “facts” can you think of that changed when more information was available? Or when unbiased information surfaced?
It will be more than interesting to see what history says about Covid-19 in the year 2020; I can hardly wait. Was it as bad as some said it was, or was it (as some wager) the biggest hoax of all time? Were the numbers inflated (as many assert), or even fabricated? Was it used as a political ruse?
No matter the answers to these important questions one thing remains historically true — we won’t see it the same way we do today!
Some will find that their vision of 2020 was profoundly impaired, others that their view of things was only moderately impaired. Few, if any, will have had 20/20 vision with regard to the year 2020.
We love to rush to judgment, catch the deceiver in the act, nip things in the bud, be the early bird that catches the worm, and stop bad things before they even get started. But time will tell if we were “drunk off the smell of somebody else’s cork” (Mark Twain), if “The Storm” is real or fake, or if Paul is dead (Wait! We already learned about that one!).
When I finally got corrective lenses I didn’t want to wear them. Clarity of vision meant less to me than my vanity, I guess. And the same will hold true for the history of 2020. When we DO learn the truth (and that will have to be qualified and ferreted out, of course), we will still have to decide what to DO with it! Some will choose their pet theory even then.
I wear my glasses now when I drive, and I wear other glasses to read. I want to see clearly. But I confess, there are many times I try to go without my glasses, because . . . well, I just don’t always value 20/20 vision over convenience, or vanity, or something.
BTW, there’s still 4 1/2 months left in 2020 to shape its history; that’s just over 1/3 of a year left. Let’s let it play out. Then, at some future point, maybe we can look back at it with clarity. But not now. Not yet.