The Pencil Today:


“There is less to this than meets the eye.” — Tallulah Bankhead


So, this little old guy named Boshkov walks into the Book Corner yesterday while I’m holding court.

There are about five people clustered around the check-out counter in a semi-circle, listening to me tell them the tallest of tales, the most dramatic of which is about how the docs are going to slice my eyeball open tomorrow morning and implant a hunk of plastic where my old lens used to be.

I tell them I’ve been virtually blind in my left eye for a couple of years. Then I confide that maybe, just maybe, I shouldn’t have been driving all this time, considering I’ve been a cyclops for so long. Dan the Jeweler tells me there was an early, two-time Indy 500 champion who was actually blind in one eye. The rest of us marvel at this and reaffirm to each other how important it is to have binocular vision when driving, for perspective and all that, you see.

Tommy Milton, Half-Blind Speed King

There’s a lot of nodding going on and then one of the women remarks what a brave trouper I am, facing such a gory procedure. I give her the old “Aw gee, me?” treatment, although her comment is what I was after in the first place.

Meanwhile, the little old guy Boshkov is standing just outside the semicircle, waiting patiently with a few bucks in his hand, listening.

“Oh my gosh,” I say, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to keep you waiting.”

He tells me it’s quite alright as he walks up the counter. He lays his few bucks down to pay in advance for Sunday’s New York Times. I ring him up and check his name off on our reserve list.

“Pardon me for eavesdropping,” he says in a courtly, old European manner, “but did I hear you say you were having eye surgery tomorrow?”

“Why, yes I did,” I say.



“Believe me. I’ve had it done. It’s nothing. Don’t be afraid,” he says.

Which I’m not, although I’m also not thrilled he’s revealing this inside information to my audience.

“It’s Nothing.”

“You see,” he continues, “you’ll be able to see again.” He points to his own eye. “It’s a miracle!”

Now, the crowd turns to him and congratulates him. Well, hell, I suppose I can share a bit of the glory. Finally little old Boshkov tells us he has to be buzzing off. He turns to leave but then halts, turns back to me, and iterates, “It’s a miracle!”

Well, tomorrow morning is now today. My miracle day.

I’m due at Doc Grossman’s Eye Center of Southern Indiana at 9:45am. Dr. Joe Mackey will be handling the switchblade. I’m lucky if he’s half my age. The profile of him in the slick, glossy pamphlet for the Eye Center says he’s recently married. He probably had to get parental permission to do so.

He’d better be good. When I saw him a couple of weeks ago, he came thisclose to saying he can do this procedure in his sleep. I hope he’s awake, regardless.


I should be out of the place by noon.

I may or may not add to this post after I get home, depending on how wonderful I feel, thanks to the substances they’ll have doped me up with prior to carving up my eye.

If I’m too blissed out, I’ll see you tomorrow.

Fingers crossed for a miracle.


The Guess Who hit from my favorite year, 1969.

4 thoughts on “The Pencil Today:

  1. bill says:

    As is custom in The Village, “I’ll be seeing you.”
    Boshkov’s close, it’s not exactly a miracle, it’s SCIENCE!
    Dr. Mackey is, in effect, “un-blinding you with science”
    Ah, the lyrical potentials will be as limitless as your restored vision.
    The Who, Johnny Nash, Frankie Valle, Pops Staples, The Flamingos,
    Siouxsie & the Banshees, Moody Blues…

    Congrats Big Mike! Now your sight will match your vision.

  2. Candy says:

    He’s ALIVE! And so is his eye again!

  3. Egads! Jubilate Deo!

  4. John Bergman says:

    Careful what you ask for, Mike. Now that you can see, there might be a dusting/cleaning spree in your future.

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