A little while ago, I talked about the book about Mike May. Well, I finished it. Should I say I crashed through it? No. That would be too corny. Lots of books make me think, but I think this one will keep me thinking for a while.
In case you haven’t guessed, it’s called Crashing Through. It’s a damn good story. It’s all about Mike May’s life, how he went blind at the age of 3 due to a chemical explosion, but that didn’t seem to stop him. His parents pushed for him to go to regular school, which was a pretty big feat, since back then, regular schools could refuse blind kids. He did everything at regular school, including run with wreckless abandon and play lots of sports. that’s where “crashing through” started. Apparently he crashed into everything. Ouch! That was one place in the book where I winced a lot. the author talked about how many fingers May broke, how many bruises and scars he accumulated, how many times he got all bloody. Yeesh! that’s one tough dude!
Holy crap did this guy do a lot of cool stuff. Hmm. Where do I begin? Do I begin with him helping to build a school in Ghana? How about working for the CIA? Maybe holding a speed-skiing record? What about trying to invent a whole ton of different stuff, and now running Sendero Group? Or how about building an 80-foot ham radio tower on top of his house? Eek! I love how he built one on top of his mom’s house when he was 16, and when he was about half done, she said, “I’m going to have to leave for a while. I can’t stand to see you up there.” when she came back, it was built. And there’s lots of other stuff that he did, but if I wrote it all down, who would read the book?
then by some freak occurrence, he ended up at an ophthalmologist’s office, and the doctor said he might be able to make him see again. He took a lot of time to think about it, and decided to go through with it, even though the surgery had one hell of a lot of risks. The book describes his difficulties with trying to assimilate all that new data that he never had before. It wasn’t an easy path, but he did as much as humanly possible. I should say he did as much as superhumanly possible, because this guy’s insane.
I do have to say he has one hell of a wife. After the surgery, she wholeheartedly encouraged him to watch girls at this coffee shop, and showed him what to look out for in a woman. She also wore tighter tops so he could see her better. I don’t think too many men would have a wife like that. Not only that, she supported him no matter what business venture he wanted to embark on.
This book made me very conflicted. It put me at war with myself. There was part of me that was saying, “Gees. If he can do all this stuff, why in christ don’t I have a job yet?” then another part of me was saying that was not the way he intended me to take it. when the surgery was a success and he was struggling with his new vision, I discovered there was a part of me that was very satisfied when he couldn’t parse all that raw data. It kept saying that my great aunt who insists I should hope and pray for a way to regenerate my optic nerve should read this book. then, maybe she’d stop telling me to go get fixed. I know she means well, but I cannot explain to her that even if they could somehow regenerate my optic nerve and convince it to convey messages, my brain just doesn’t have the pathways it should have for that sort of input, and I’m better off doing things the way I do. Then, when I would detect that satisfaction, I would quickly be calling myself a hateful bitch, and I’d start hoping for him again.
Robert Kurson has a way with words. There were points when I laughed, cried, and shrieked out loud. The point where Mike asked if a very very large woman was a forklift had me laughing for quite a while. When it looked like he was going to lose his vision, after he’d just mastered the art of using it, I cried. As for the shrieks, I know I have a powerful imagination, but when they were describing sticking a needle in Mike’s eye, well…I found myself squeezing my chair’s arms and gritting my teeth. You could tell Kurson put a lot of work into making sure this book was painstakingly accurate. He said he worked on it for two years. It shows.
I don’t think it matters if you can or can’t see. This book is a good read. I wish I’d read it *before* I met the dude. Then maybe, just maybe, I would have had something intelligent to say. Then again, maybe I’d be more tongue-tied.