Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Life's a Blur

Eyes are funny things. Not “Beatle-Bailey-Uproariously-Gutbusting Funny” but more of a “Garrison-Keilor-vaguely-amusing-to-a-
Bavarian-Mint- Cappuccino” kind of way.

To many, eyes are very useful things. You can like… see with them. If somebody says something stupid, you can express your own dismay at their lowbrow plebian foolishness, and your own comparative superiority with a mere roll of them. You can narrow them to express incisive skepticism. You can use them to express dominance over another person in a staring contest. If you’re being held hostage, and have to deliver a video ransom message, you can use your eyes to blink a message in Morse Code: H-E-Y. I-M-A-C-T-U-A-L-LY-T-A-L-K-I-N-G-I-N-M-O-R-S-E-C-O-D-E. D-O-N-T-G-I-V-E-I-N-T-O-T-H-E-I-R-D-E-M-A-N-D-S. S-E-N-D-H-E-L-P. A-N-D-S-O-M-E-V-I-S-I-N-E.

But yet, for all their usefulness, they are like a delicate flower, perched preciously on the slippery cliffs of a Scottish Moor. (Feel free to use that bit of poetic genius. Just give me credit.)

They are one Three Stooges Eye Poke or Shish-ka-bob skewer away from being rendered completely inoperative.

I, like many, have two different eyes. They don’t get along very well. My right eye, like Felix Unger, demands perfection, excels at providing clean sharp vision, is willing to go the extra mile, shows management potential, and is a pleasure to have in class. But the other, like Oscar, is relaxed, messy, play by his own rules, and has a penchant for staying open all night and waking up in a pile of eye goop, or in some cases, pink eye.

As you can guess, the differences between these two have provided for many Wacky Hijiinks and Comic Misunderstandings that have fueled many a laugh from the studio audience of my life.

Let’s say- in a very theoretical situation, for the purposes of the argument- I’m playing “baseball.” As the ball-thrower throws the ball my right eye says, “The ball is currently exactly 1.2 meters away from you, and located at grid coordinates (5.34, -3.76) Swing now.”

The other eye, meanwhile, is saying that the ball’s more like 4 feet away from me, and may not be a ball at all. It could, for all the left eye knows, be a kitten. So all I have left to do is to close both eyes, swinging widely and hitting the umpire.

I blame my poor depth perception for my lack at skill at Baseball, Basketball, Tennis, Ping-Pong, Interpretive Dance, Cross-Country, Music, Driving, and the popular board game, “Operation.”

Still, for a while, all was good. I could simply be satisfied to wallow in my own athletic ineptitude and pursue other more Noble Pastimes, like Video Games and Sleeping.

Then my right eye starting going bad. I had been worried about the right eye for a while. He was spending too much time hanging around the left eye, and the left eye’s sloppiness was beginning to rub off on him.

Pretty soon everything started to look blurry- whiteboards, powerpoint slides, even Van Gogh paintings When police cars started to pull me over because I had no idea what the heck Stop Signs said, I knew I had a problem.

I didn’t want to get contacts because since I’m a person who’s lost my keys, my coat, my wallet, my 1998 Toyota Camry, and my baby brother (his name’s Josh and has brown hair. If you see him, E-mail me)- somehow, I didn’t think I’d do very well with an inch long clear plastic disk. Also, the concept of putting anything into your eye disturbs me. Putting anything into MY eye disturbs me even more.

Glasses, on the other hand. Well, I’m a person who did quite well in School, reads the newspaper every day, spends an excessive amount of time on the Internet, has read ninety percent of the Star Wars novels, wrote a 120 page Star Wars: Episode One parody when I was in eighth grade, is socially unaware, and has more skin conditions than friends, but glasses! That would make me look like a… Nerd.

But I, like many people, was fated to fulfill my own stereotype. I went to the Eye-ologist for the purpose of getting a prescription. He did his usual prodding and poking and chemical dropping, until my eyes look like a very surprised anime character.

“Hmm…” the doctor said, as all doctors must. “Your eyes seem very bloodshot and your pupils are HUGE! Are you sure that you haven’t been using marijuana?”

“No.” I reply “The only thing I’m addicted to… is love.”

“Too bad. Pot does wonders for relieving Glaucoma.”

Finally, my eye doctor handed me a slip of paper with what looked like the Quadratic formula written on it.

“Bring this message to the operative known only as “The Myopic Fury,” the Eye-Doctor said. “She’s dressed in a white windbreaker, and will be carrying an a Wall Street Journal in her left hand. You’ll find her behind the counter at the LensCrafting both at Costco. Tell her, ‘Here’s my prescription.’ She’ll know what to do.”

It was at Costco that I purchased my glasses, as a part of a pack of twenty-four.

“Can I get glasses that allow me to see through walls?” I asked.

“No,” the salesperson replied.

“How about ones that shoot lasers?”


“How about ones that have a 14 strength focus, +3.74 diopter curvature, progessive lenses, +78 magnification, with enhanced active viewing zones, anti-reflective coating, and a sturdy yet fashionable frame that exudes both confidence and chic intellectualism?”

“Now those, we have.”

I slipped on the glasses. “I think the prescription’s wrong. Everything still seems blurry.”

“We have to put the lenses in first.”


“Here. Try these.”

“Wow! This is the best thing that’s ever happened to me. Everyone looks happy, and the future has never looked. Now that I have these, I’ll be popular in school, I’ll finally finish that novel I’ve been working on, and Bob Geldof recruiting Pink Floyd and U2 play music is sure to be the thing that will finally set Africa on the road out of poverty!”

“Yup. That’s our rose-tinted model.”

A week, later, my prescription finally arrived. I suavely donned my new specs. It was like… I saw the world in a whole different way. Colors became stronger. Fuzzy streaks snapped into solid lines. You know trees? They’re made up of individual components called “needles.” And I swore- that when I was REALLY tired- I could see the individual atoms in my hand.

But sight has its downsides. I could never figure out why I looked so dashing, so smashing, so ruggedly handsome in the mirror, but so hideous in pictures. That is, until I looked into the mirror with my glasses. My every flaw, my every imperfection, every nosehair, every dandruff flake, every smear of Tartar Sauce was finally illuminated. I could see myself for who I truly was.

Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall. If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.

Still, my new glasses gave me confidence. Perhaps now I can catch footballs, decipher magic eyes, and tell which bathroom is the guys and the girls. Perhaps this will be the edge I need, to finally surmount my social barriers. Perhaps these will be the key to popularity. Perhaps…

Suddenly, a yelling voice jolts me out of my revelry:


I guess if I was less nearsighted, I would have seen that coming.