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?



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *