Smile Politely

Embracing your double vision

On the eve of my epic journey to Australia, and the night after I successfully defended my master’s thesis, I sit here, in a daze, hoping to make it to Perth without losing my gourd on what will be twenty-six hours of traveling. My brain turned pretty mushy after articulating my argument to a room full of long-time professors, and last night’s celebratory dinner at Fiesta Café, followed by drinks on the deck with great friends, has only turned me into more of a simpleton. The rest of this column should serve as proof of that.

Most of last night’s company either wears glasses or contacts, and a conversation about the stressful nature of eye exams came up after one anonymous guest admitted that he thinks he screwed up his last exam when the doctor asked, “Better or worse?” For those of you who have had an exam recently, you can likely relate to his stressful experience.

As the doctor quickly and repeatedly flips those lenses, you’re asked to make split decisions about if the incredibly minimal change improves or impedes your vision.  “Better or worse?  Better or worse? Better or worse?” Over and over and over again, she pressures you until you’re in a panicked, sweaty state, hoping the end is near and that you’ll make it out of there without cussing at her or punching her in the jaw.

Then your new glasses arrive; you try them on and realize they just aren’t right.  “Shit,” you think to yourself, “I knew I should have said worse that one time. Why the fuck did I say better? Damnit. I’m such an idiot.” Now you’re forced to make another decision: Do you go in there and admit that you may have answered some questions incorrectly? Do you just deal with it and try to do better next time? Or do you suggest the prescription is wrong but that it’s through no fault of your own?

If you try to blame the doctor, I imagine they have someone in that office whose sole job entails pulling out a transcript or a video of your answers. In order to avoid being liable, they probably look up what you said and when, and tell you, “Sorry, you said better here. Looks like you should have said worse, idiot.” When you realize you’ll have to pay out of pocket for new lenses if you want to get the prescription corrected, you sadly lower your head and walk toward the door…and then you walk right into it because your depth perception is jacked up, idiot.

Going down under tomorrow, and next week’s column will hopefully come from there. I’m pretty certain there’s a joke in here somewhere…but then again I’m thinking at about a sixth grade level tonight. Bon Voyage, all!

Related Articles