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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA

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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

Eye Am Not an Animal!

Three lightning-quick points of order before we set sail tonight:

#1. Contrary to my hard-earned pessimism from last time, I re-tinkered a bit and believe I’ve finally solved my spam comment problem. With custom code of my own, no less. I’ve been running naked, with no “official” spam filter for three days now, with nary a trace of spam slime around. The “rock star” pride, she swells in my bosom.

However. To ensure that the three-and-a-half of you who actually read this drivel from time to time can still be heard, please leave me a quick comment on this post, when you have the chance. And if you hit a snag, a quick email to tell me I’m an idiot would be much appreciated. Thankies!

(Ema, you’re excused. Forty-three comments on the last entry is all the data I need from you, buddy.)

#2. Over the weekend — and with thanks to Jenn‘s RISD class grueling schedulemaking — I finished (and submitted for contest judging) my first solo sitcom pilot script. It feels pretty good.

Sure, I never want to see it again. But it feels good. Mighty good.

#3. I’m tired of having days go by with nothing new posted on the site here. I used to fling nonsense netward every freaking day. But I’m just not able to work a lengthy daily post into my schedule right now.

Finally, I’ve found a compromise. A way to bring fresh original content — if only a leetle beet — on otherwise-off days. I think it’ll be good. It’s coming in May.

As in tomorrow. I know, right? *squeeeeee!*

Meanwhile, back in my nightmare…

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was hopefully overdue for an optometrist appointment. I skipped a lens checkup two-and-a-half years ago, and couldn’t fathom a protocol for re-establishing contact. Or contacts. So I didn’t dare show my retinas around the place again.

Finally, I found a new joint for ocular-opathy. It’s near my work, miles away from the other place. I picked it so there’d be no chance of hard feelings, or running into my old eye doc, or any sort of uncomfortable dealing with that old forgotten appointment.

Naturally, the place is a LensCrafters. Just like the last place. And they all share patient records. So as soon as I handed over my insurance card:

Oh, I’ll just pull up your file from… oh, my. It has been a while, hasn’t it, sir. Tsk tsk.

(They laid on a guilt trip almost as thick as my mother’s when she stumbled on that post and found I’ve been wearing the same pair of contacts since the Clinton administration.

I was going to send a snarky response to her email, but it was kind of all blurry and out of focus. So I figured the optometrist was a good idea. If only for the sake of preparing my scathing reply.)

“I just know it was big, it was six inches in front of my nose, and it was winking at me.”

We eventually meandered past the “disapproving look” phase, and they took me in for a peek at my peepers. They ran a few tests, then had me take my current contacts out.

(We didn’t have plastic back then, of course. They’re made of wood.)

That’s when they wheeled me up to “The Machine“.

I forget the name of the machine, exactly. Optchuck, maybe? Optonogood? Doc Optopus? No idea. I just know it was big, it was six inches in front of my nose, and it was winking at me.

And that’s never a good thing. It’s that strip joint in Alabama all over again.

Only this time, I was told I should wink back.

(So not like the strip joint in Alabama at all.

More like the Port-A-John in Memphis. Don’t ask.)

I asked the eye tech what the hell I was getting myself into here. She explained, sweetly, that a while back this machine replaced the procedure where the doc puts drops in your eyes to swell your pupils up like little optic Violet Beauregardes, leaving you squinty and pained and dark-closet emo for the rest of the afternoon.

(She also mentioned that they no longer use leeches for bloodletting or anesthetize with ether-soaked rags, which might also be changes from the time of my last appointment.

A smartass half-doc dissing me while I’m unable to see her clearly, and almost sucking face with what looks like a washing machine. Oh, yay.)

I swallowed my pride, so I could tell her in no uncertain terms that if this machine meant I wouldn’t have to go through the usual dilation routine, I’d give it whatever the hell it wanted, up to and including third base.

She ignored me. It’s possible I was talking to a hat rack.

Then we performed the test. She told me to put my face nearly up against the machine and look in one direction, ninety degrees from the winking little peephole. Then swerve my right eyeball around, so I was looking directly into it.

While breathing hot and heavy on its neck, had its designers seen fit to supply it with such.

I did as she asked. She counted down from three, and in a flash, the pale green pinhole exploded into a bright emerald burst. I knew they could see the back of my eye from the picture — because I was seeing afterimages of the back of my brain when I blinked.

And yet. She said, “no”:

Let’s try it again. You must have moved.

I couldn’t argue with that. I mean, I thought the involuntary convulsing had come well after the flash. But if she said no, then I suppose not.

See this image? That’s clearly no good.

Right, of course. “Clearly,” I nodded. What the hell did I know? I’m blind without my contacts. I couldn’t see the stupid computer screen, much less the image. For all I knew, I was getting an eye exam from Chewbacca. Blurry brown thing told me to give it another try.

I did as she asked, again. Looked left, peered right. Just a little down. Closer. Closer. Too close. To the left. Hold it… hold it… three… two… one… atomic flash, and “good job!

Wait… no. That one’s blurry, too. See?

Not even if you taped the monitor to my forehead, no. I don’t see. If I saw, I wouldn’t be here licking your fancy space camera, now, would I, Chewie?

No. I would not.

We tangoed this way for the better part of an hour. We’d try a couple on the right — “nope“, “too shadowy“, “did you blink? — and then we’d try a couple on the left. None of them turned out, I was told. None of the little fuzzy gray blobby things was good enough. Meanwhile, I was starting to feel like I was getting a lap dance from Green Lantern.

The problem, it turned out, was light leaking in between my eyeball and the machine, causing splotches where the image should be. No matter how she told me to sit, or turned me, or crammed my head into the lighthole when she snapped a pic, none of them turned out right. Which led me to one of two conclusions:

Either she wasn’t handling the equipment correctly, or I have a supremely misshapen face that was gumming up the works.

It was no real surprise to learn that she’d be operating this doodad for almost three years. It was clearly not her first rod-eye-o. So that sealed the deal. I’m the Elephant Man.

On the plus side, we finally snapped enough pics that they got a good one — or ran out of digital film — and I got fitted for new contacts. That tech and the doctor are probably back there right now, wondering how a face could fit one-size-fits-all machinery so poorly. But at least soon I’ll be able to see them laughing and pointing clearly, so that’s an improvement.

And it’s not like everyone in the shop thought my face was all lumpy. That Optopussy machine was into me. Oh yeah, I could tell. She just wouldn’t stop staring dreamily into my eyes. One at a time, but still. Hot.

So — third base, indeed. When I go back for the fitting, I’m getting her number. Phone number, serial number, whatever she’s got. Giggity.

Permalink  |  1 Comment

One Response to “Eye Am Not an Animal!”

  1. Lili says:

    Charlie, It is Lili. (remember me?, hah?). Hope you are doing well! I read your blog every once a while, when I am really bored at work. :)

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