Category Archives: Cataract

The Pencil Today:



I’ve rejoined the binocular world.

The excruciatingly young Dr. Joseph Mackey (when I see him, I have to resist the urge to tousle his hair and say, “How’s Little Joey doin’ today?”) carved up my left eyeball yesterday and whaddya know? I can see again.

First time in a few years.

As The Loved One drove me home, I peered at the world as if for the first time. Admittedly, because my pupil was max-dilated and because certain topical anesthetic meds were still splashing around in my left socket, things looked fairly psychedelic at first.

For instance, the grass was a sort of blue-black in color, the sky greenish-gray, and it felt as though I was viewing the sun from the planet Mercury, but still, I could see.

Blades of grass. Clover. Fence slats. The person sitting on my left. I had no idea how much of the world I’d been missing.

My pal Dr. Alex Straiker (a scientist, not a medic) tells me that’s called the Clean Windshield Effect. You drive your car for weeks or months with a filthy windshield that you can hardly see out of, then one day a big rain comes along or you splurge on a car wash and you’re amazed at how much you can see now.

T-Lo got a big kick out of me pointing out everything I could see. Heck, when we got home I looked out the window and marveled, “Oh my god, I can see the screen in the window!” as if I’d just peered upon the Great Sphinx of Giza for the first time.

“Oh My God…!”

I saw Little Dr. Joey this AM for my next-day follow-up exam and he pronounced my eye in fine shape. He asked me if I had any complaints or problems and I told him no. “It’s perfect,” I said.

The truth is, my vision is not quite perfect at this moment — yesterday’s dilation is still lingering and I’ve got a good bit of corneal swelling, which is to be expected. Little Dr. Joey tells me my vision will get even better over the next few days.


Anyway, this whole shebang brought to mind that fabulous scene in the vid above. Charlie Chaplin’s “City Lights” is without a doubt one of the ten greatest movies ever made in any language. If you haven’t seen it yet, do yourself a favor.

The movie has to do with the Little Tramp pretending to be a rich man and doing all sorts of things to get money to pay for an operation on the blind Flower Girl’s eyes. He gets the dough but in the process becomes wanted by the law and winds up a penniless hobo again. The Flower Girl never knows that he’s as broke as she is.

Then one day, as portrayed in the vid, he happens upon her as she works in her new job in a flower shop. Naturally she doesn’t recognize him just by looking at him.

But then when she touches his hand, she recognizes him.

I’ve seen City Lights a dozen times and still cry over that scene every time. Two images from the scene have become iconic in cinematic history: when she extends her hand with the flower in it to him and when he smiles coyly after she declares that yes, she can see now.

Hell, I may as well give you my top ten movies list here and now. I’m not going to do my regular pontificating because I’m too busy telling all my Soma Coffee mates about how cool it is to see again.

So, enjoy. And come back for the rants tomorrow.


The Godfather and The Godfather Part II (they have to be listed as a single entry)

City Lights

The Third Man

“The Third Man”

North by Northwest


An American in Paris

White Heat

“White Heat”

Some Like It Hot

The Day the Earth Stood Still (Not the Keanu Reaves abomination but the Robert Wise original)

Fort Apache (Trust me, this is an anti-war movie despite being made by John Ford and starring John Wayne.)

“Fort Apache”

There you have it, in no particular order. Feel free to argue with me in the comments section. You’d be wrong, but you can still argue.

See you tomorrow.


When I was a kid and this was on TV, I would run out of the room when the robot came on screen. Then I’d creep back in because I wanted to be scared to death again.

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.

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