The Lightbulb Moment


Did you know that in a dimly lit room, the pupils of your eyes dilate to allow in more light?

You probably knew that, because you’re smart. You’re reading my blog, for starters, which speaks very highly of your mental capabilities.

Conversely, when you look at a bright light, your pupils contract – this protects the eye from experiencing too much light and means sensitive parts of the eye, which aren’t designed to see much in the way of bright light, don’t get damaged.

An almost entirely hypothetical illustration of this principle might be the following, almost certain never to happen, scenario:

Let’s say two people were in a dimly lit dining room and realised there was a faint, worrying smell of burning. The smell seemed to be coming from a lamp, in which the bulb had recently been replaced. There then followed a discussion about whether someone had bought the wrong sort of bulb for the lamp, and had purchased a large, halogen spotlight instead of a soft-tone regular bulb.

To prove the point that someone had bought the wrong bulb, the person with the most overly developed need to win every argument in the world EVER, might have had the bright idea to stick their head under the lampshade and look at the bulb to see what was written on it.

This action might – again, completely hypothetically – have resulted in the person temporarily experiencing some flashing lights and visual disturbance followed by a period of temporary, very minor partial blindness.

The person might have tried to cover up the fact that they’d just blinded themselves on a light-bulb by returning to their desk and reading Twitter on their laptop – with the tiny adjustment of having to bob their head from one side to the other because the right half of the screen wasn’t visible. In fact, nothing on the right-hand side was visible, and most of what was visible was a bit blurry. And moving.

Not ideal.

When the blindness didn’t disappear after 10 minutes, it probably would get a bit annoying. After 20 minutes, disorienting. And after an hour, the person might have actually been prepared to admit that, okay, yes, staring at a 100 watt halogen spotlight from a distance of, ooh, about six inches is probably not the smartest move ever made, and help might be required.

The hypothetical result of this might include four hours of blurred vision, a trip to A&E, a diagnosis of minor never damage, instructions to visit an optician the following week to check for ongoing damage, and possibly the world’s WORST hangover headache, without even having had the fun of getting drunk in the first place.

The lessons we can learn from this story?  Always buy the right bulbs for starters. Also, before trying to read the writing on a light bulb, probably best to turn it off. Oh, and don’t try and get your Twitter friends involved in an evil new meme called Twitpic or Shitpic, because karma will bite you in the behind for that kind of thing.

Anyway, like I said, completely hypothetical, because, after all, who’d be THAT stupid?




Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the Tots100, Trips100, Foodies100 and HIBS100 communities, along with the MAD Blog Awards. She spends a bit too much time on the Internet. She’s also a very happy Mum to Flea, the world’s coolest ten year old.

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  1. 31st December 2011 / 4:37 pm

    oops! But have to admit I probably would have done the same thing in the same circumstances…

  2. 31st December 2011 / 4:42 pm

    I am laughing but nervoulsy as it is EXACTLY the sort of thing I would do – hypothetically of course!

  3. 31st December 2011 / 7:35 pm

    Sometimes, nothing, but nothing is more important than winning the argument.

  4. 31st December 2011 / 7:36 pm

    Oh, yeah. Obviously. TOTALLY hypothetical situation.

  5. TheBoyandMe
    31st December 2011 / 9:08 pm

    However, you proved your point beautifully!

  6. 31st December 2011 / 10:15 pm

    Oops. Lucky you don’t know anyone that daft because I bet you’d be really derisive and take the mick relentlessly….

  7. 1st January 2012 / 12:51 am

    Oh bloody hell, Whittle… you don’t do things by halves do you??
    Erm… at least you did it *last* year? Here’s to 2012 being slightly less… ditzy! *ducks*

  8. Aly
    1st January 2012 / 11:53 am

    I’ll remember not to hypothetically get drunk with you

  9. 1st January 2012 / 11:55 am

    Oh gosh. Hope it’s better now. Hypothetically

  10. 1st January 2012 / 12:00 pm

    I know. Jane’s right, I’m basically a plonker.

  11. 1st January 2012 / 12:00 pm

    Thank goodness, yes, if something like that HAD happened, it would be a lot better today.

  12. 1st January 2012 / 3:10 pm

    *rolls eyes* Sorry. I could have put that better.

  13. susie@newdaynewlesson
    2nd January 2012 / 5:54 pm

    Ouch. Also think the damage ruined your spelling right?
    “minor never damage” 🙂

  14. 2nd January 2012 / 6:07 pm

    I shouldn’t be laughing cos this was only hypothetical. Maybe it’s hypothetical laughter.

  15. 8th January 2012 / 3:08 pm

    Ouch – hoping that the hypothetical person has recovered… snigger