Lee Pitts: Here’s lookin’ at ya’
When it comes to attitude the eyes have it.
I recall when researchers at the University of Guelph in Canada came to the conclusion that the more visible the color white is in a cow’s eye the wilder she is. They found that the color white ranged from 20 percent white being visible up to 50 percent. I was not surprised with this finding because I seem to collect cows with white eyeballs.
As an auction guy and a student of people I know that people’s eyes tell you a lot about them. It’s not the size of the eye that is revealing because, unlike the nose and ears, the eyes are always the same size from birth. It’s the color of the eye that is so revealing. The official colors of the human eye are brown, light blue, blue, blue/gray, gray, green and hazel. To which I would add the unofficial color red, as every photo ever taken of me with an older model camera clearly shows me with red eyes.
Brown is the most prevalent eye color in the world followed by blue. Brown eyed people are attractive, confident, adorable, affectionate and serious. At least according to brown-eyed writers. On my drivers license it says that I have hazel eyes. I actually had an aunt named Hazel but she had blue eyes. We hazel-eyed people are supposedly easily bored, mentally agile, restless under pressure, and usually take on 20 projects at a time. This does not describe me at all, except for the mentally agile part, and I don’t become bored easily, unless I’m reading my own writing.
If I could be any eye color I wanted I’d pick blue as it much more accurately defines who I am. Blue eyed people are sexy, peaceful, kind, smart, spiritual and intense, and if that doesn’t describe me to a “t” I don’t know what does. But blue eyed people are also youthful and are really good with computers. Sadly, I am neither.
Gray eyed people are wise, gentle, sensitive, and clear in their thought processes. They are also the keenest eyed, and many of the great marksmen in history had gray eyes.
The color of a person’s eyes is highly heritable and for years it was thought that two blue-eyed people could have only an offspring with blue eyes. Then someone finally looked at people’s eyes and found it not the case. The great vaquero writer, Arnold Rojas, said that in the old days blue-eyed people (zarcos) seemed to find wives more easily than brown-eyed men (morenos). Arnold explained that the reason was purely economic. Zarcos could see in the dark like an owl and what girl could resist a man who was “gifted by nature to provide her with the choicest of meats.”
Some species can have two different colored eyes. This condition is called heterochromia and Australian Shepherds, Dalmatians, Huskies, Great Danes, Paint and Pinto horses, cats and even some people can have this condition. Especially if they get in a lot of bar fights and sport a black eye. The rarest eye color of all, by the way.
It is my highly valued opinion that a disproportionate share of cowboys have only one good eye. Phil Stadtler, a cowboy if there ever was one, used to take his glass eye out and put it in his highball glass if the conversation was lagging and they needed something to talk about. My friend Ron, a great saddlemaker, was at my house one day and I showed him my collection of glass eyeballs and asked if he’d ever seen one before. He cracked his fingernail against his glass eye five times and said, “I sure have.”
How he tools such great looking saddles with one good eye I haven’t a clue.
I just read a great book called “Call of the Cow Country,” written by Harry Webb and published by C.J. Hadley of Range Magazine. In it Harry tells the story of Old Jim who found two of his lazy, not-too-bright workers laying in the shade when they were supposed to be cleaning out a ditch. So Old Jim took out his glass eye, set it on a post and told the workers he was leaving his eye to watch them to make sure they worked hard. They cleaned out that ditch in the blink of an eye. A glass one, no doubt.