"Joe," growled Gus Wilson to his partner, Joe Clark,
as the two clattered down the road in their old service car. "I'm
about fed up on this auto business. For two pins I'd sell you my share
in the Model Garage!"
"G'wan!" Joe scoffed, grinning.
"You're fed up on 'hot dogs' - not autos, I told you three was too many."
"Maybe so," Gus agreed. "I do feel
as though they're snapping at each other." The veteran automobile
mechanic relapsed into a gloomy silence as the car sloshed on through the
rain. They were rounding a curve, when the headlights revealed two
cars jammed together at the side of the road.
"Speaking of fights," Joe whispered as
Gus stepped the car, "looks like we're going to see one right now!"
The owner of one of the cars, a big, red
faced chap, appeared to be on the point of hitting the under sized
bespectacled driver of the other car.
"Of course it's your fault!" the big
fellow yelled angrily. "Anybody that wears glasses as thick as yours
must be half blind anyway. It's a good thing you've got 'em on or I'd
sock you into the middle of next week. I've a good mind to do it
"What's the idea of picking on the little
guy, you big stiff?" snapped Gus grimly as he stepped up to the speaker, who
was almost a head taller than himself, "I'll bet you're to blame, at that."
"Say! Who asked you to butt in?"
grated the big fellow. "Somebody's going to get a clout for this and
it might just as well be you!"
With that, he aimed a furious swing at
Gus's jaw. The veteran ducked and the force of the swing threw the
bully off his balance. Gus gave him a gentle push and he landed on the
ground with a jarring thud that took all the fight out of him.
"Now let's get the straight of this,"
said Gus, turning to the little chap, "How did it happen?"
"I was coming down Mapes Avenue," he explained,
nervously dabbing rain drops from the thick lenses of his spectacles, "and
this man was approaching the crossing on my left, so I had the right of way.
When I saw he wasn't going to stop I put on the brakes, but it was too
"Kind of near-sighted, aren't you,"
observed Gus as he noted the thick lenses with their deeply concaved inner
surfaces. "But I'm fully corrected," said the little fellow hastily.
"He's half blind, I tell you," argued the
bully, who, by this time, had crawled painfully to his feet and seeing that
Gus had no intention of renewing hostilities, wanted to uphold his end of
"How about your own eyes?" Gus asked.
"Why didn't you see this man's car approaching the intersection?
There's no signboards or anything in the way."
"My eyes are perfect and I can prove it."
"All right, prove it then," snapped Gus.
"Stand right where you are and describe the radiator ornament on my car."
The big fellow laughed sneeringly.
"What are you trying to do, kid me?" he
growled, staring intently at the metal object. "That's no test.
It's just one of those metal bulldogs. One of the front legs is busted
Gus, who was standing in front of the big
chap but slightly to one side of his direct line of vision, did a peculiar
thing while the big fellow was gazing at the radiator ornament. He
crouched into a pugilistic attitude and started a swing that would have
landed square on the point of the jaw if he had not stopped it a foot short
of the mark.
Joe and the other accident victim gasped
in amazement, for the big fellow seemed totally unaware of Gus's threatening
I guess that settles it," Gus growled at him as the
big man finished describing that bulldog. "If you'll take my advice,
you won't ever try to drive again. You have what is called 'tunnel
vision'. You only see what is directly in front of your eyes - no side
vision at all. A normal man can see a moving object, that's almost
ninety degrees off to one side. You didn't see my fist move toward
your jaw just then, and the chances are you never saw this fellow's car at
all until it was right in front of you."
"I passed the license examination," said
the big fellow uneasily. "That gives me the right to drive, doesn't
"Sorry, big boy," said Gus sympathetically. "People
with tunnel vision are scarce. There's no cure and no way to correct
it with glasses. I heard of a fire engine driver who had it without
realizing it. He managed to drive the engine for several years, and
then he got into a bad smash and the investigation showed his eyes were to
"That's a new one on me," the big fellow muttered."
"Still it would account for most of the accidents I've had." It's cost me
plenty of jack fixing up other people's cars after I busted into 'em."
Can't even get insurance any more." Guess I'd better get me a
chauffeur before I land under the daisies!"
"And if I were you," Gus grinned, "I'd make durned
sure that the chauffeur doesn't have the same trouble."
Both of the men's cars were so badly smashed that they
had to be towed in. "How about the little fellow?" Joe asked as they rattled
down the road with the first car on the end of the wrecker's crane. "Should
a man be allowed to drive a car who is as near-sighted as he is?"
"Sure", replied Gus, "if he's got enough common sense
to know his own limitations." In the daytime, with his glasses on, he can
see just about as well as anybody" A night, especially when it's raining, he
won't be quite sure what he sees through the rain-covered windshield." He's
liable to mistake a post for a man or a man for a post, he won't get into
"Farsighted people," Gus continued, "unless they are
unusually farsighted, don't even need to wear glasses when they drive.
"Color-blind people can drive safely enough, but they're up against it when
it comes to traffic lights." I know one man who doped out which light was
above the other and went by position instead of color." "Once, late at
night, he was traveling through a strange town, and he saw a light where he
thought the red ought to be, so he stopped." When the lights changed he
started forward and went smack into car crossing in front of him." In that
town they had the red light where the green light ought to be!"