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[YAK] Safety glasses/blindness

Hi Folks, I certainly agree with all the encouragement to wear safety
glasses… one of my favorite sayings is “a blind jeweler does nobody
any good.” I thought this was a foregone conclusion until last year.
Somewhat off the subject, but amazing nonetheless:

Last year I attended a “machine gun shoot” and gun show in Knob
Creek, KY. A throwback to my days in the Marines, and an exhilarating
experience for someone with a tendency to like things that go bang
and boom. My buddy is friends with one of the gunsmith/vendors
selling at the show, so we spent some time hanging out with him.

In the neighboring booth I had the opportunity to meet the gun
dealer, a guy in his late twenties, whose opinion on just abut
anything was taken as gospel by the other dealers. It wasn’t until
later I was told he was totally blind! I realized he wasn’t making
eye contact with me when we were talking (he was “fondling” a
weapon), but how can this guy function as a vendor without being able
to see customers, weapons, little sneak-thieves, etc.?!?

Well, obviously he has a system, a great memory, and his remaining
senses are heightened. His inventory is covered in plastic sheet for
dust protection, but this also allows him to hear if anyone is trying
to look at (or steal) something. Of course, all his friends and
neighboring vendors keep a watchful eye out for him, as well. He
knows every millimeter of every piece he has, and his sense of touch
turns out to be a more effective tool for evaluating the condition of
a weapon than our eyes are. His Dad helps out with the logistics and
driving, and such, but pretty much lurks in the shadows and stays out
of his son’s way.

A truly amazing person who altered my perception of what a handicap
means. I still don’t know that a blind person can work with jewelry
since it is so visually anchored, and I don’t want to be put in the
position of having to find out. As Gerry was saying, one may be able
to overcome an eye injury, but prevention is infinitely better than a

All the best, in good health!

Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio and
Carolina Artisans’ Gallery
Charlotte, NC (USA)