At last I’m part again of humanity. For a year I lived in uncertainty: was I normal or not? Well, I was not completely normal for a start, but then again, who is, at University—that is, the people over here used to be top of the bill, but things may have changed since I started out here. Anyway, I’m back again.

It started like this. We were in England. In England they had some sort of hype: the so-called Magic-Eye, three-dimensional vision thingies. You know, it’s not done with silly red-and-green glasses, and you don’t need a stereoscope. All you have to do is looking cross-eyed at a picture that seems to be a misprint.

Everybody around me saw the damned things. They saw a dinosaur where I saw lots of dots, an aeroplane where I saw lots of dots, a biker where I saw lots of dots. That was the one thing I succeeded in: seeing lots of dots, but apparently that is not what it’s all about. Once I saw so many dots, I fell off the pavement. But depth? No way…

So I thought, well, I’m not completely normal. I’ve got one eye minus ten, and one eye minus five, and on top of that I’m colour blind. But I kept on trying. And every time I saw lots of dots, nothing less, and nothing more. Once it started shimmering, but after that I only saw more dots. A good friend tried a little consolatian: "I’m sure you can do it." She might have been sure (she has confidence), but I certainly was not.

Until I saw the January issue of Scientific American (a very good magazine, by the way). And there it was again, a single image random-dot stereograph—that’s what it is called officially. There even was a recipe, how to do it. I quote: "Just cross your eyes until the two black dots above the image become four. Then, through luck or will, make the two central dots of your halucination coalesce. Take an aspirin. Focus on the middle dot." And yes: lots of dots, nothing less… and two fish! Really, I saw two fish hovering over the page. And what is more, I could scan the picture without any problem. I could move my head up and down, to and fro, but the picture stayed clear and three-dimensional.

Since then, I have seen dino’s, a bust of Beethoven, a rose, hearts, stars, everything in steady 3D. I’m part again of humanity!!!


This text was previously published in the By The Way…, volume 51.

© Roelof Ruules