Digging With a Blindfold On

Posted by Bill Bergner on 04/05/2016

Recently I read a story about WWII where six Navy pilots took off from their aircraft carrier in the Pacific Ocean for their mission. Upon completing the mission shortly after sunset, the planes were returning to the carrier, but they could not find the ship. The captain had ordered lights out on the carrier for security reasons. The pilots could not see the ship and radioed for a light so they could find the ship and land. The captain refused to light the ship. It was unimaginably dark that night over the Pacific and the pilots had no way to see the ship. The pilots pleaded with the captain, but he would not light the ship. Finally, the captain told the radio operator to turn off the radio. The pilots felt abandoned and had to ditch the planes into the ocean. The story did not explain what happened or why.

It reminded me of a time I was traveling to see my father in Casper, Wyoming. It was a dark night traveling across Wyoming after dark. There was no moon and it must have been cloudy, because I could see no stars either. Wyoming is not like Oklahoma, where there is a small town every so far, so you could see some light in the distance. It was a dark, dark night as I crossed the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. These were not plains, but going up and down the hills and around the plateaus in southeastern Wyoming. As I neared Casper, there was road construction and that meant no lines on the edge of the roadway or lane markers on the highway. The new roadway was asphalt and very black, even more so without the lines and lane markers. The only lights I had were my headlights. I had traveled this road before, but was not very familiar with it. I was feeling pretty “blind”.

Soon after this trip, I went back to see my eye doctor. My cataracts were getting worse. Apparently, cataracts can lead to some night blindness and that certainly did not help me traveling across Wyoming. The doctor recommended cataract surgery, which I did have. My vision is much improved and it is especially noticeable when driving at night, even in well-lighted areas.

Unfortunately, cataract surgery will not help anyone when digging or trenching. When you are digging, you are going into it blind. You cannot see what is beneath the surface without some marking of the lines below the surface. It is not like a sonogram or x-ray where you can see what is there.  If you want to remove the blindfold, all you have to do is have the underground lines marked before you dig. That is where OKIE811 comes in. OKIE811 will contact the companies that have cables, lines or pipes buried in the area you plan to dig. The call to OKIE811 and the service to have the lines marked is free.  Simply dial 8-1-1 at least 2-business days before you dig to have the companies come mark their buried lines.

Here is a link to submit a request. Then you will not be digging with a blindfold on.