cockeyed, large corneas, immature (so I’ve got that going for me)

I went to the eye clinic on campus last week instead of the place I’ve been going for two decades. As an employee, I received a super-dee-duper deal on my exam. Plus, my old place couldn’t find contacts that fit right the last time I was there, and I thought a new place might have better luck.

Going to a new doctor allowed me the opportunity to share a creepy memory from childhood (which I’ve shared with every eye doctor I’ve seen, none of whom were amused).  See, there was this show when I was in, maybe, middle school. A network television murder mystery, I think. The victim is sitting in the chair getting ready for an eye exam. The doctor swings around the thing that goes up close to your eyes (the one where you have to choose “Which one is better? One? Or two? One? Or two?” and it’s a really shitty choice because both kind of suck and you’re afraid you’re going to choose the wrong one, which will cause your glasses or contact lenses to suck and make your eyes worse than they already are). Anyway, the doctor swings around the thing that gets right up next to your eyeballs, only the murderer had rigged the machine so that there were two big needles poking out right at eye level. So instead of having to choose between one and two, the person in the chair had their eyes gouged out. It’s been thirty years, give or take, since I saw that few seconds of television, and I think of it every time I go to the eye doctor.

Because the doc who saw me last week is pretty fresh out of school, some of our interaction was…different than what one might expect from a seen-it-all, bought-the-tee-shirt doctor. For instance, near the end of the exam, she asked if I’ve always tilted my head to the side, which she’d noticed I’d been doing off and on during our conversation. I said that I’d never really thought about it but feel like it’s something I’ve done for a long time.

“Why?” I asked.

“Oh,” she said, “it can be an indication of something.”

“An indication of what?” (Because I like to have shit to google.)

“It can be an indication that your eyes aren’t aligned. But I know they are because I already did that test. I was just double-checking.”

“So you’re saying I might be cockeyed?”

(laughing) “No, no. You’re fine. I shouldn’t have brought it up.”

Now all I can do is wonder. Why do I tilt my head? And why has no one mentioned this to be me before? I told my family about it yesterday, which prompted Tohner and Dad to both turn their heads sideways while I was talking to them, saying they were just trying to look me in the eye. So supportive.

Then the doctor tried to find contacts that fit my eyes. The first lenses she brought me “work on 95% of the people who try them.” Sure enough, they didn’t work on me. Nor did the second pair. Third time was a charm because she picked some extra large lenses. Seems I have abnormally large corneas, according to the doctor, and that’s why it’s hard to find lenses that will sit still on my eyes.

Perhaps sensing that I was beginning to get a complex about my gigantic, misaligned eyes, the doctor tried one last salvo. “I’m sure you hear this all the time,” she said, pausing just long enough for me to run through the various things I hear from strangers. “You don’t at all look like you’re 40. You seem much younger.”

Ahhh! Success! I feel so much better-

“Or maybe it’s your attitude,” she continued, unwisely. “You don’t act like you’re 40.”

She obviously doesn’t subscribe to the quit while you’re ahead school. What’s funny is that, with all of this, I still really liked her.

8 responses to “cockeyed, large corneas, immature (so I’ve got that going for me)”

  1. Tilting one’s head to the side is a classic sign of bemusement.

    Like when a cocker spaniel lifts one ear and one eyebrow and tilts his head to the side when he’s looking at you.

  2. Grackles do the same thing. Only they’re as likely to be listening for worms as they are to be bemused.

    • Al, that joke doesn’t follow the theme of my story at all. And what’s up with that website? At the top of the page, a naked woman looks to be using the bathroom in a dryer while playing the squeezebox.

  3. I’ve always thought you were a bit tilted. Maybe that’s why we get along. Never knew you were cockeyed, though.

  4. I thought we covered the whole head tilting thing when we tended bar together? ‘Cause I catch myself doing it from time to time and I thought we discussed that. It might have something to do with having abnormal eyes, ’cause I have to wear two completely different types of contacts. My problem with the type of “compliment” she gave you is, I don’t really know what a 40-year-old is supposed to look like, nor what they’re supposed to act like, either. Since she’s just out of school, I’m assuming she was a bit younger than you, so in that case, you can take it as a compliment. I don’t know if it would be the same case if it was a 55-year-old telling you that.

    • I don’t remember that, Conn, but it certainly sounds like a conversation we might have had. And I agree – once you get past, say, 25, there’s no set standard of being related to each birthday. I’m just happy to still be here, whether I look young or old for 40 (soon to be 41).

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