Unless you live in another solar system, you have heard that there is going to be a solar eclipse on August 21, 2017. All of North America will be able to witness this epic event. People in the path of totality will see one of nature’s most awesome sights, a total solar eclipse. This is where the moon completely blocks out the sun, for a couple of minutes.
Here in America there will be fourteen states in on this action of totality. The last time this kind of event occurred was 1979. I was only six so I can’t really say that I was hyped over the last one. I am not an astronomer but even I can tell this eclipse is kind of a big deal.
Everyone is excited. Actually beyond excited. It is all that I see on my local news channel. There is even a Countdown to Eclipse ticker on the television screen. People are seriously acting like we are listening to Prince’s 1999, on December 31, 1998. Craziness.
Remember the song Total Eclipse of the Heart by Bonnie Tyler? Well, a cruise line is actually paying her to stand on their docked ship to sing that song RIGHT AS the eclipse is happening. Total Eclipse of the Heart AND Total Eclipse the Sun. That is what heaven must be like.
The only problem with the eclipse is that you can’t just stand outside with your mouth hanging open, beholding the sight that is to be beheld. Or beholded. Or behelded. I am not sure we ever conjugated that verb in school. You cannot look upon an eclipse of the sun with your naked eyes. It works like a magnifying glass, frying your eyeballs. It can seriously cause severe eye damage or blindness. Don’t be a rebel.
In preparation for the big party here in Nashville, everyone is handing out or selling special eclipse viewing glasses. These glasses are certified by NASA, meaning NASA says it is perfectly safe to view the eclipse if you are using these glasses. Your pair of Panama Jack shades will not work this time. NASA scoffs at those.
Everyone raced to get their hands on these glasses. People even bought extra pairs in an effort to make a little money. I get it. Supply and Demand. Then Amazon released a statement that went something like: Our bad. The glasses we sold you are not safe. They will NOT in fact save your eyeballs from utter burnage. Then, other businesses started backpedaling. They too had sold or handed out glasses that were not up to solar eclipse standards.
Then after a few days businesses started saying: Okay seriously, THESE glasses are safe. We pinky swear this time. Except I am like, Uhhhh you said that last week. Am I willing to just accept your word now? Am I willing to put my two eyeballs into your hands? I cannot be sure.
I am zero percent of a risk taker. I will admit that. I have a play it safe kind of nature about most things. Unless the President of NASA himself (Does NASA have a president?) drives up to my door and gives me a pair of safe viewing glasses, then just how can I be sure now?
The bigger problem is I have already signed permission slips for all four of my children saying they can view the eclipse at school with the glasses that the school is supplying. Now I am going overboard telling them that if they gaze upon the eclipse, then the sun can make their eyeballs literally burst into flames.
Because I believe that a little healthy fear is good for kids these days. I also tell them that strangers are constantly trying to grab them off the streets and that if they go to online chat rooms, it will ALWAYS be a 45-year-old male pedophile, posing as a 10-year-old boy. Always.
I will not apologize.
My rational head tells me that I am being just a wee bit irrational. That hundreds of thousands and maybe even more people will watch the eclipse and have nothing to show for it afterwards except an amazing memory. And I would like to tell you that I am going to throw caution to the wind and hitch a ride on that Bonnie Tyler luxury cruise ship, but I am not going to lie to you.
I will probably whether the eclipse from inside my own home. I will probably sit on my couch with my eyes tightly closed until the event is safely over. Then I will turn on the television and watch all of the amazing footage of an event that should make us all realize just how small we really are, here on planet Earth.
Then I will come help you guys pick out Ray Charles shades and a support cane!
It is going to be epic, America!!!