Friday, March 21, 2008

A Brief, Uncomfortable Look At My History With Eye Trauma

Last night, while watching LOST and drinking a frosty beer, I discovered that I had something in my eye. And not in that, "oooh, I'm saying I've got something in my eye, but what I really mean is that I'm just a big girl who can't stop from crying when the home team wins an extra-innings squeaker to send them to the playoffs," sort of way. Not like that. No, it was an actual,"omigod, there's a foreign body sliding around on my eyeball like Scott Hamilton at the Ice Capades and I'm not particularly enjoying it," kind of thing. While in my rational mind I knew that it was probably the size of a halved grain of sand, it felt... and thus, in my imagination, it grew to be... the size of a .45 Magnum bullet. I envisioned it furrowing deep trenches into the meat of my eye, cutting deep, blinding me, leaving me broken in half (metaphorically speaking) like those poor, milk-eyed wretches that you see begging for change outside of convenience stores and bus stations. I waited for the inevitable geysers of bright, clear fluid to spring forth from my ocular cavity as this thing... this clawed, vicious creature... finally struck home it's death blow that would bring down the lights on my world forever.

Everything was, of course, alright by morning. Whatever mote of dust or fleck of grit had landed in my eye had evacuated itself at some point during the night. Though I'm still quite red-eyed and raw from all the scratching and rubbing I inflicted on myself, and despite the fact that being in this state makes me look like a minor character in a Bret Easton Ellis novel, I'm otherwise perfectly fine. Physically, at least. Needless to say, I've got some unresolved issues with eye trauma that need to be resolved before a clean bill of health can be issued across the board. So fine, let's take a look at the root of this neurosis; let me tell you how it all started. I think you'll agree that, given my history, I'm well within my rights to go completely bughouse with regards to my eyes and the things therein that should not be.

Incident One

I had gone home to celebrate my 20th birthday with the various friends, family, and assorted acquaintances that were still hanging around Arlington, TX at the turn of the century. After a trip to the grocery store to gather party supplies, I was helping my mother carry in armloads of bags when... (thunder, lighting)... tragedy struck. My hands were full and the bags were heavy, but the important thing to know is that, in my right hand, I held my sunglasses. About halfway from the car to the door, one of the lugged bags began to slip from my arms, while at the same time, I stumbled on some loose gravel. All of which equated to me lurching suddenly forward in an attempt to steady myself as well as regain control over the bag of groceries. This, unfortunately, caused my right hand to come flying up as my head pitched down; the hinge of my sunglasses (where the earpiece connects with the lenses) landing squarely in my left eye. It didn't hurt too badly... at first. But the pain intensified over the next day or so, to the point where I could barely open my eye without making noises like a wounded sheep. Tears were streaming out constantly. I moaned and wailed and cursed the heavens and grocery bags and my sunglasses... but what I didn't do was, you know, go to the doctor. Look, I'm a dumb, dumb man now, and this was even more so the case back then. Also, I don't think I had insurance or something. Well, whatever the case, it ended up getting better after a week of POW camp-style physical and mental torture. But the weird thing was, for the next year or so, I'd wake up with my left eye all hurting and leaking tears, just like in the days following the initial accident. Not kidding. It was like phantom pains or something. I think there's a ghost in my eye and when it's hurting like that, it's the ghost mourning for his lost love. That's the only thing that makes sense.

Incident Two

This one's even stupider than the first one. It was two nights before the long, long drive with my father from LA to Dallas. I was taking out one last haul of garbage to the dumpster and, because I was wearing soccer shorts without pockets, I decided that it would be the smartest thing ever to hold my keys in my mouth as I went down the stairs. So I put my key chain between my teeth and, garbage bags in both hands, I headed down as quickly as I could. Too quickly, as it turned out. The jostling and the bouncing caused my keys to fly up into my face, the longest of which (my car key) hitting me squarely in... yep... the left eye, yet again. Second verse, same as the first... the next day was washed in pain, misery and dribbling tears, which made matters complicated because I had a shit-ton of errands to run in preparation for me leaving Los Angeles for good. These included delivering a TV that I was selling to a person in Silverlake, as well as getting my car inspected (which I'd put off until the last day, of course), and stocking up on Rock Star energy drinks and beef jerky. Try driving around a major metropolis using only one eye. No, go on... I'll wait.

Not fun is it? You nearly died in a bunch of fiery, head-on collisions with maniac, gun-wielding drivers? Yeah, that sounds about right.

It was, to say the least, one of the most unpleasant days of my life.

And to this day, due to the myriad abuses it has taken, the vision in my left eye is a little blurry. Not to mention the fact that I'm now, as I alluded to up top, completely petrified of any sort of further eye trauma. I can't even watch eye trauma on TV without seriously freaking out (House, I'm looking... or rather, not looking... at you). Anyway, I guess what I'm trying to say is this: I'm pretty sure that if my left eye gets knocked around again, it's going to explode like a rear-ended Yugo. I'd really prefer that this not happen, if it's all the same to everybody. I like my eyes. They're good for looking at stuff. Boobies, mostly.


Anonymous David said...

I wear gas permeable contact lenses which are hard. Anyway I rubbed my eyes once and sliced off a piece of the cornea like it was a piece of deli meat. Let me tell you that is a rather painful eye experience. The next morning when I went to the optometrist to find out why I was in such pain. He looked into my eye and that is when he discovered I had had self-inflicted. He said it reminded him of the shape of Africa which I guess is much better than having a slice of ones cornea come off looking like Asia.

11:16 AM  
Blogger Todd said...

My eyes are watering in sympathy!

12:06 PM  
Blogger Clinton said...

David... OUCH!!! You win.

Todd... Thanks! Now my eyes are watering, but from happy tears!

1:12 PM  
Anonymous chris w said...

It's like your the real world manifestation of Lenny's consistent eye trauma from The Simpsons.

1:31 PM  
Blogger Digital Fortress said...

I may have to send you some protective goggles or maybe an eye wash station.

You need them peepers protected in order to keep cranking out installments of ZFS!

9:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I HATE getting stuff in my eyes! I spent half the time on the drive to Baghdad with them shut. Sand was caked in every bodily opening...

12:26 AM  

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