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Andy woke up with no sight and a tube down his throat.

On Sept. 28, 2011, an unknown person assaulted Andy. The attack knocked him unconscious, and when he woke up, he couldn't see anymore. The assault had damaged his optic nerve.

"I thought to myself, 'Hah. Whatever. You'll just open me up, reattach the wires and lights come back on again,'" recalls Andy. But that wasn't going to happen. "[The doctor] put his hand on my shoulder and said, 'I'm sorry, Andy.'"


Over time, Andy adjusted to losing his sight. But it wasn't easy.

More than 7 million American adults are blind or have a visual disability and it doesn't necessarily have to be a sad thing. But for Andy, losing his sight was difficult.

"The hardest thing for me being completely blind is not seeing my family every day," says Andy. "For me to learn to accept, 'You're never going to see again, Andy. You're never going to see your wife, your children, your dog.' Taken away in the blink of an eye. It's not fair."

But then the doctor said he might know something that could help.

There's a weird device out there called the BrainPort. It lets people see with their tongues. Yeah — their tongues. The device has three parts: a small camera, an iPhone-sized computer, and a weird half-spatula/half-lollipop-looking thing.

Using it is pretty simple: The camera and computer capture an image, then send it as a pattern of buzzes to the lollipop, which the person puts in their mouth (the buzzes apparently feel kind of like Pop Rocks candy.)

A buzzing lollipop sounds pretty weird, but it does seem to work.

Our brains are actually pretty good at figuring out how to use new information (it also helps that our tongues are incredibly sensitive, as anyone who's accidentally bitten theirs can tell you). It took a little while for Andy to get used to the buzzing sensation, but not that long.

"I felt this buzzing on my tongue, and I felt the impression. And then I saw my hand. For the first time in five years, I saw my hand," Andy explains. "Something that small is huge."

If certain studies are correct, Andy's brain could have processed the signals in his vision centers, as if the information was coming from his eyes themselves.

Seeing his hand must have been big. But not as big as seeing his family again.

"The first person was [my son] little Andy. He shook his hand back and forth and he said, 'Dad, you can see me?'" says Andy. You could see the emotion in his face. "He said, 'Hey, pop.'"

"It had been five years since I've seen my kids," Andy says. "It's incredible."

Watch Andy's story below:

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

This article originally appeared on 08.21.18


Addie Rodriguez was supposed to take the field with her dad during a high school football game, where he, along with other dads, would lift her onto his shoulders for a routine. But Addie's dad was halfway across the country, unable to make the event.

Her father is Abel Rodriguez, a veteran airman who, after tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, was training at Travis Air Force Base in California, 1,700 miles from his family in San Antonio at the time.

"Mom missed the memo it was parent day, and the reason her mom missed the memo was her dad left Wednesday," said Alexis Perry-Rodriguez, Addie's mom. She continued, "It was really heartbreaking to see your daughter standing out there being the only one without their father, knowing why he's away. It's not just an absentee parent. He's serving our country."

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Pop Culture

She bought the perfect wedding dress that went viral on TikTok. It was only $3.75

Lynch is part of a growing line of newlyweds going against the regular wedding tradition of spending loads of money.

Making a priceless memory

Upon first glance, one might think that Jillian Lynch wore a traditional (read: expensive) dress to her wedding. After all, it did look glamorous on her. But this 32-year-old bride has a secret superpower: thrifting.

Lynch posted her bargain hunt on TikTok, sharing that she had been perusing thrift shops in Ohio for four days in a row, with the actual ceremony being only a month away. Lynch then displays an elegant ivory-colored Camila Coelho dress. Fitting perfectly, still brand new and with the tags on it, no less.

You can find that exact same dress on Revolve for $220. Lynch bought it for only $3.75.
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