Friday, November 18, 2011
"The Horror of the Eye!!"
When I was about three years old, I had an accident that destroyed the vision in my right eye. I don’t really remember any of it, but from what I’ve been able to figure out from my mom and other sources, I’d found a broken Coke bottle in the front yard (we lived off a dirt road where teenagers would often speed by and toss things out their windows) and decided for some reason that playing with a broken bottle was JUST the thing to do. The teen-age girl who was baby-sitting me at the time freaked out when she saw what I had. She moved to knock the bottle out of my hand, and wound up hitting it directly into my face.
The result was a cut iris and a severed muscle on the left side of the eye. I was rushed to the hospital, where, because my mom was poor and didn’t have insurance, I was left waiting in the emergency room for over an hour—in shock.
They didn’t bother to try to fix the damage. For a couple months after that, I wore an eye-patch, and oddly enough, had to learn how to walk all over again. My balance was shot, so it was a challenge. I remember, vaguely, walking down the hall and veering off, running into the wall. I also remember laughing about it, until looking up to see my mom in tears. Weird memory.
Since then, I’ve had some small amount of peripheral vision in that eye, but just barely. Cover up my left eye and I can’t see shit, really. And since the muscle was severed, the right eye drifts to the right.
Believe it or not, this messed-up eye never had much effect on my life. When I was a kid, the drifting effect was hardly noticeable. As a teen, when it started drifting more, it still wasn’t too bad—this was the post-punk ‘80’s, remember, and wonky eyes (a la David Bowie) could actually work in your favor when it came to girls (which was more or less my sole concern in those days).
In the last ten years or so, though, the drifting has grown continuously worse, to the point where I get occasional head-aches from it, and it’s more immediately apparent to people I meet. Honestly, I’ve gotten a bit self-conscious about it, for the first time in my life. Whenever I see photos of myself, I’m always startled and a bit mortified by it. It sorta makes me look like a sleazy psychopath. And I am NOT sleazy.
…which is my long-winded way of explaining why I hate having my picture taken. A couple days ago, my friend, the photographer Ron Warren, took a series of shots of me (he needed an excuse to use his new studio, which is pretty rad, by the way) and I was the test subject. He got some really good photos. But I vetoed many of them, because of that damn eye. It just looks… weird.
So I’m thinking of getting surgery, just to pull the eye back to the goddamn center where it belongs.
Or who knows? Maybe sleazy psychopath is a look that works for me.