Just something for you to consider.
imagine: You’ve just entered your office on what may well be the most
hectic, stressful day of your life. Suddenly you realize all of your
reference books, piles of paper-work and notes are covered with little
bumps. In fact, you discover there is not one single printed word to be
found. Every scrap of information necessary to do your job, is now in
Imagine: you rush back out of your office, wildly looking about, peering
into offices, staring over the shoulders of clerks. Everybody is calmly
doing their job, using Braille. Mysteriously they have learned the
language overnight. Only you, it seems, were overlooked. For some
unknown reason, you are permanently and totally Braille challenged.
Imagine: you dash for the door hoping the rest of the world has not gone
mad. It has. In the elevator, you’re not sure which button to press for
the lobby. Someone has to help you. They stare at you as if you are
stupid. Pausing at the news stand, you are unable to tell one magazine
from another. You can’t stand it, you need to go home and collect your
thoughts. But at the bus stop, there’s no way of telling which coach is
yours. You back away, not wanting anyone to know, and you decide you’ll
call a cab. Of course, you only brought bus fare and lunch money, not
nearly enough for the taxi. Remembering your bank card, you pull it out
as you run back into the lobby. There, at the access machine, you stop
short. The card has turned to Braille, and so have all of the
instructions on the machine. You’ll have to call home and ask for help.
Funny, you never paid much attention to the telephone dial and now, in
your growing state of confusion, you don’t recall which number goes
where. You are so alone, so frightened, you actually begin to weep.
Imagine: you have always seen yourself as a leader, a visionary, a
problem-solver. You will not run from this challenge. You shall succeed.
You have a large mortgage. Once you have recovered from the great shock,
you begin looking for ways to survive.
Imagine: you have finally made arrangements, through your employer, to
hire a Braille reader, a process so complex and painful you plan to
patent it and use it to torture Terrorists. Now you sit in your chair
going quietly mad listening to the drone of your reader’s voice, taking
hours of time to cover what you once scanned in minutes, while others
whip about you efficiently communicating among themselves via
Braille-FAX and E-B-mail. You begin to feel the “ice” in isolation.
Imagine: you learn you are not alone. You are a member of a very small
minority of Braille-Challenged people. There is, in fact, a Brailleless
Culture; a history far too long and complex to discuss here. So, you
become a member of the, Brailleless Association of America. (BAA) At the
BAA meetings you find out about a number of small companies
manufacturing adaptive equipment which enables Brailleless persons to
access all of the Braille computers, FAX machines, Braille scanners and
The expense is far more than you can afford, so you seek assistance from
your employer. Your request is turned down. There are no requirements
that your employer accommodate your disability.
Imagine: BAA, along with many other disability groups, battle in
Congress for the passage of a Bill, guaranteeing you equal treatment
under the Law. The bill passes and, despite subtle messages from your
fiscal officer, money is, “found” for your accommodation. After
considerable time and effort, the technician from the Department of
Services for the Brailleless, has you on-line. Now you are able to scan
Braille text and convert the little dots into letters, and through a
very complex process, the Braille display on your computer is
transformed into print. Finally, you are again up to speed, being your
old efficient self, feeling good about your work.
Imagine: you are humming and smiling and cranking along in high gear.
Suddenly, a message flashes on your screen and drives terror through
your heart. New breakthroughs in technology have produced equipment so
superior to the ancient junk–at least four years old– presently in
use, that your organization is upgrading the entire communications
The BAA, technicians have already informed you that your adaptive
equipment is not compatible with it. You go to the, “Powers-That-Be” in
your organization, and request a meeting to discuss this concern. You
are told that your fears are groundless. You will not be forgotten.
Following this meeting A rumor goes around hinting that you are trying
to sabotage the new system, and your associates begin to whisper behind
your back. They want the new system. It’s far superior, more compact,
ten times faster, and it’s cool looking. They are sick of your “whining
and constant complaining”. You feel the “ice” settling in again.
Imagine: you have been forgotten. The new system is in place. Everybody
loves it. You’ve been told not to worry, someone will be around to do
what is necessary to put you back on-line. The “someone” they had in
mind is the same technician who told you the system would not work.
Despite your concerns, no one bothered to investigate before the
equipment was installed. Once again you sit, going quietly mad while
your reader plows line by line through the piles of Braille.
Imagine: you know you are close to losing your mind or your
job–probably both. You must find other employment, but you do not want
your associates to know you are finally beaten. You try to figure out a
way to do a quiet job search when all information is only accessible in
One day you hear that your State has developed a central information
center, called a, “kiosk”. These information centers are being set up in
easily accessible locations. The plan is for these kiosks to make
government information and services available quickly and conveniently,
to the public. Sort of a “one stop shopping center”. You learn that
lists of job openings are among the many services offered. This is
perfect. This is exactly what you need. you discover your town recently
placed a kiosk in the Mall. You go there on Saturday afternoon. There it
stands, costing the tax payers hundreds of thousands of dollars to
create, but well worth it. In its ultimate form, the kiosks will bring
virtually all State services right into your local neighborhood. You are
thrilled as you step up to the controls. An automated voice welcomes you
and brags about the wonders of this system. Breathlessly, you wait for
your instructions… Then, the Braille display appears.
Imagine: they are dragging you away, shrieking at the top of your voice.
Onlookers are amazed. They do not know how you managed to rip the iron
bench from the floor of the Mall. None of them dared to try to stop you
as you swung it over your head, again and again, smashing the kiosk into
pieces of broken plastic, glass and twisted metal. None of them
understand why you kept screaming the same words over and over.
“I pay taxes, too! I pay taxes, too! I pay taxes, too!…….”