Everybody Say Eye


By Neil Offen

I have worn glasses for most of my life. That is, ever since they found out in elementary school that I had been cheating on the eye test.

It was a victimless crime, if you don’t count the ophthalmologist, who lost a number of co-pays. As other kids would stand in the back of the classroom, cover an eye and read from the chart placed at the front of the classroom, I’d memorize what they’d recite — Z F G H S D — and so on. When it came my turn, no one would know I was so nearsighted I could only see the Z and thought it was an S. Or maybe an H. How about a $?

And for that matter, what did ZFGHSD mean anyway? For all I knew, it could have been the Serbo-Croatian acronym for ophthalmologist.

I cheated because I did not want to wear glasses since, I believed, they were almost as dorky as pen protectors, which were soon to be banned by the Geneva Conventions.

Now, of course, I’ve learned there are other ways to compensate for the lack of 20/20 vision, particularly in 2021. They would include:

Buying a larger TV. If the 256-inch set that has taken over your entire living room is starting to seem insufficient, and you can barely make out Vin Diesel’s facial features while you stream “Fast & Furious 206,” get the new 514-inch model, which can take over your breakfast nook as well. To pay for the set, you can charge family members for the popcorn. And also recognize that Vin Diesel may not have any facial features.

Using our other senses more. When you are driving at night on a desolate mountain road, try to smell where the next blind turn will be. If that doesn’t work, listen carefully for the sound of your screaming.

Increasing the lighting in your home. Get rid of all those 100-watt bulbs and even the squiggly 16-watt halogen equivalents and replace them with the arc lights from left field at Fenway Park. Make sure to get a dimmer switch, too.

Always walking with your arms thrust out in front of you. Remember, it’s absolutely possible there’s a door nearby.

Moving your laptop. It can sometimes be difficult to see what’s on your computer screen when your eyesight is not the best. But despite its name, a laptop does not have to go on your lap! That’s just a clever marketing tool. You can move the laptop up to your chest or your neck or even your nose while you also increase the font size Times New Roman 786.

Employing contrast. You want to make things you can’t see clearly stand out as much as possible. So put milk in a dark coffee cup or put bright-colored strips on the edge of dark stairs or put a dab of hot fudge sundae sauce on your new white shirt. Then you can tell everyone you did it on purpose.

Using magnification. Remember, you can always take a small problem and make it bigger by ignoring it.

Carrboro resident Neil Offen has written humor pieces for a number of different publications, in a number of different countries. His column will appear twice monthly in The Local Reporter.

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1 Comment on "Everybody Say Eye"

  1. Many years ago, back when I wore a younger man’s shoes, my landlady offered to drive me to the local bank so I could pay the rent in cash rather than the check I was offering her. She was 75 and was proud of the fact that she had cheated on the eye exam at the DMV and so, could still drive. Her vision was poor enough that she needed my coaching at intersections to tell if the traffic light was red or green. Three blocks from the bank, I leapt out of the car after telling her I felt safer on the sidewalk than in her car, and that I’d be happy to pay the rent in cash if she survived the rest of her trip to the bank. Lordy, she did survive, but I never again resorted to the rampant adventure of being her passenger. (As an aside, I rented from her for the following three years and we’d talk once a month about the fact that I’d asked her to trust me (by mailing a check). She wanted cash or a money order. Did my check bounce I’d ask her. Well no, she’d say, but it could in the future. She treated all her tenants equally: like deadbeats.)

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