Rod Miller: Chasing Rocks – Or - How Not To Look Like An Idiot 

Columnist Rod Miller got his first pair of glasses when he was out gathering cattle with his dad. "I thought I saw a bunch of cows off in the distance at the base of a ridge. When I got to the ridge, I found out they were only big rocks. I had to confess to Dad that I had wasted half an hour trying to round up rocks."

RM
Rod Miller

July 16, 20234 min read

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I got my first pair of glasses when I was seven or eight years old. Big, clunky black-rimmed Buddy Holly glasses that must have weighed two pounds. They dug big divots in my nose and I hated wearing them.

The only upside was that I could finally see the world around me.

It all started when I was out gathering cattle with my dad. I thought I saw a bunch of cows off in the distance at the base of a ridge. So I loped over to round ‘em up and toss ‘em in with the rest of the herd

When I got to the ridge, I found out they were only big rocks and not necessarily cow-shaped rocks at that. I had to confess to Dad that I had wasted half an hour trying to round up rocks.

He chuckled and told me that he was either going to get glasses for me or a truckload of green paint to slap on all the rocks on the ID so I’d never get fooled again into thinking that rocks were cows.

Glasses showed me a whole new world. I could finally see the blackboard at school and the baseball as it left the pitcher’s hand. And I never tried to round up another rock.

Thinking back on it, I reckoned that little kids don’t really need good vision most of the time. They just need eyes good enough to see the swing set or the sandbox or the backyard fence. Playing doesn’t require clear vision, only good imagination.

But grownups working in an adult world really need to see things clearly, or else they’ll wind up chasing rocks they thought were cows. Or doing other stuff that makes them look foolish.

The reason being that the human mind abhors confusion. If the eyes present a fuzzy image to the brain, the brain, out of some sense of duty I suppose, will make up a “fact” to fit its own purpose. 

The mind demands as much certainty as it can muster if the eyes aren’t doing their job. It will construct something to please itself in those instances. It is fully capable of turning rocks into cows to clarify its own world.

If we humans, for lack of clear vision, allow that to happen then we end up “seeing” things that aren’t really there. Cloudy vision makes us see rocks and think cows. We might see a lie and think it's truth.

If we don’t clearly see events around us, our noggins might convince us that everything happening around us is a dire conspiracy. 

Our minds, like magicians, will saw people in half and pull rabbits out of hats if we allow our vision to be fuzzy and our eyes to be diverted by bright objects and slick talk.

If we have bad eyes, we need to fix ‘em. Big, black Buddy Holly glasses did the trick for me. And once we are 20/20, we need to use our eyes to tell our minds about the world that surrounds us, and not the other way around.

There’s not enough green paint on the planet to cover up all the stuff that tries to confuse our minds with mirages of things that really aren’t there. There’s not enough time to chase rocks when there’s so much work to be done.

But a clear pair of eyes and the willingness to look closely make all the difference and will keep us from looking like rock-chasing idiots to the rest of the cowboys.

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Authors

RM

Rod Miller

Political Columnist