It Just Ain’t the Same

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of the American Psychiatric Association lists one symptom of depression as, “the loss of pleasure in former activities.”  If that means stuff like books, movies and the visual arts, then the DSM has hit on a no-brainer.  To me at least, books I can’t read, movies I can’t watch and paintings I can’t see puts the kibosh on art appreciation.

Fortunately for folks like me, there’s audio books and descriptive videos.  Books keep getting better and better, both in selection and format.  I carry around forty or so books and magazines in a gizmo the size of a deck of cards.  Movies are getting better, too.  Descriptive videos make me part of the action.  As for TV, there’s a new law that will make more shows than Mr. Rogers Neighborhood and National Geographic accessible. Regarding National Geographic – do I really need animals eating other animals described to me?

All in all, I’d still rather have my vision back.  I like to see things for myself.  Audio stuff is good, but lacking.  Here’s what I mean:  Grandpa was a factory worker who stopped at the tavern for a shot and a beer with his buddies on his way home.  Grandma said, “Ivar, I’ll pour you a shot and a beer here at home.  Why not come home and relax?”  And grandpa replied, “T’anks, Gerda, but it just ain’t the same.”

I used to love going to the Art Institute.  I was impressed with Impressionism.  I’d lean against the lions and people-watch.  I miss that.  But I remain interested in art.  I want someone to position me in front of the life-sized painting by George Seurat, the one with the Sunday strollers along the Seine River.  What I used to see, now I wish to feel.  I want to know if I can feel the energy radiating from that painting.  It ain’t the same as seeing it, but, hey, it’s art.

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5 Responses to It Just Ain’t the Same

  1. Fred says:

    Pleasure is the absence of pain.

  2. bethfinke says:

    Would be interesting to find out if you can actually “feel” that famous painting. Too bad it costs so much to get into the Art Institute in order to give it a try, though!

    • Jeff flodin says:

      Beth, this may be our lucky month. I heard on the radio that admission to the Art Institute is free for all during January

  3. Julia says:

    Hi Jeff,
    I’m Julia, a graduate student at IIT Institute of design in Chicago. Me and my classmate Jessica are working on a project together. We’re looking for areas we can help individuals who are visually impaired. Came across your blog and would love to hear more from you.We’d love to talk with you sometime in this month. Please let me know if you’re interested. Thanks!

    • Jeff flodin says:

      Hi Julia and thanks for your comment. Please contact Kathy austin at the Guild for the Blind to learn more about how to best assist people with low vision. Kathy’s phone number is 312.236.8569 and her email is I will alert Kathy to your call/contact. If you have specific questions for me, Kathy will let me know. Meanwhile, thanks to you and good luck to you and Jessica on your project.

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