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  • Writer's pictureArnie Bernstein

Let's Go Gray!

I write this with tears in my eyes. No, I'm not weeping over a sad movie and let's be honest, who doesn't get weepy when Sonny is ambushed at the tollbooth? After all, he was on his way to protect his sister. No, the tears are artificial, squeezed from a small plastic tube to relive eyestrain. Staring at screens all day floods the eyeballs with every pigmental hue and combination. Whether it’s writing, teaching online classes, reading blogs, playing video games, or social media surfing, brash colors take their toll. So I’ve decided to go gray. You should go gray as well.

Shades of Gray Relief

By this I don’t mean tossing out the hair dye or Grecian Formula. Instead, go grayscale. Turn off the color on all your devices. Your desktop. Your laptop. Your tablet and your phone. Get rid of the garish colors assaulting your rods and cones. Give your retinas a well-deserved reprieve. I'm not a doctor. To me, doctoring is something along the lines of “Fly the kites, Igor. The storm is at its height!” But I do know from personal experience (as do you) that persistent computer work hurts the eyes and more. This disorder is a direct result of computer technology improvement. Screens revved up with color were intended to make to make our lives easier, brimming with joy, and free of pain and stress. Ironically, this brave new world of screen living achieved the opposite. Color bombardment is draining our eyeballs of their natural moisture, inducing tension headaches, and resulting in creative burnout within just a few hours of work or play.

Turn Gray, Tune Gray, Drop Color

Mac SE circa 1987

My old MAC SE never caused this problem. It was a beige box with a simple gray screen. That sweet little apparatus did the job when I wrote my master's thesis, the worst novel ever composed in the history of literature. I was gifted that way. Today we live for our screens. We use them to write, create, and communicate with texts, emails, and social media. We read books and newspapers on screens. We plunge ourselves into virtual reality games on screens. We binge Netflix on immense high-def screens. In some cases, we even look at small screens on smart watches. I know I do. I was in bad need of something to help the eyestrain and chances are you are as well. That’s why going gray is best for the eyes and overall health. Turning off the color on your devices is easy, just a matter of jumping into settings, tapping a few buttons and boom! Eyestrain alleviated.

There are other advantages. Putting your phone on smart basic gray cuts your addictions to interminable scrolling through social media apps, playing endless games of solitaire, or watching movies. Before the pandemic movies were first released on big screens rather than instant streaming into your living room. Soon we will be back in the public temple of multiplexes, packed into a room full of strangers, all committed to enjoying ourselves with the kind of large-scale views that never can be replicated by a smartphone. I find it ironic, amusing, and baffling that Lawrence of Arabia, a colossal widescreen epic released in 1962 to combat the marketplace of small screen television consumption, can now be downloaded and watched on a device that fits in the palm of your hand. Turn off the color, tune in the gray, and dump the eyedrops. Your result is in clear view.

PS: "Gray" is common use for American English and "grey" is the standard in the United Kingdom. However, it's fine to go with either spelling.

Follow me on Twitter @RealArnieB

Copyright 2021 by Arnie Bernstein

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