Category Archives: Eye Center of Southern Indiana

The Pencil Today:


“I love sleep. My life has a tendency to fall apart when I’m awake, you know?” — Ernest Hemingway

Scary? Scary How?

Just a tidbit from Bill Maher’s latest spew:

“If Obama were as radical as they claim, here’s what he already would have done: pulled the troops out of Afghanistan, given us Medicare for all, ended the drug war, cut the defense budget in half, and turned Dick Chaney over to The Hague. Here’s what Obama actually did: he cut taxes and spending…, he didn’t go on a spending spree, he didn’t break up the ‘too big to fail’ banks — they’ve only gotten bigger and fail-y-er. That’s not what liberals wanted; that’s what conservatives wanted…. [U]nder Obama, there’s more drilling than ever. That’s not what environmentalists wanted; that’s what conservatives wanted. Obama spent most of last year conceding the Republican premise that government needed cutting. That’s not what progressives wanted; that’s what the Tea Party wanted. The Dow was at 7949 when he took office, now it’s at 12,000 and over. Corporates profits are at their highest ever. If he’s a socialist, he’s a lousy one. He could not be less threatening if he was walking home with iced tea and Skittles.”


Don’t do a single thing today until you visit the Pencil’s GO! Events Listings.


I am a world champion napper. Napping is one of humankind’s finest pursuits. A day spent without a nap is a day wasted.

I’ve been partial to naps ever since I emerged from the womb and yawned.

Imagine how thrilled I was when my cardiologist told me that due to my congenitally malformed heart, I ought to take a nap whenever I feel the need for one. (Almost as giddy as when he told me drinking a glass of wine and eating a piece of chocolate a day would be of great benefit to me — I nearly kissed him.)

Now, I love working at the Book Corner save for one terrible drawback — Margaret, the owner of the place, won’t let me take a nap while I’m on the clock. The tyrant.

Apparently, much of the world seems to be able to get by without naps. Poor souls.

And, if I can believe what I read, there are those who have energy to burn, who are on the go, go, go, all day long, who can get by with only three or four hours of sleep in a night.

Crazy, no?

Do I Have To Do This?

Bill Clinton is one of those people. I suppose any number of presidents and aspirants to that sleepless office have less than the average bear’s need for slumber.

I’ve met dozens of people who are great successes in business and entertainment, many of whom view sleeping at night as a kind of annoyance. They can’t get anything done when they’re asleep, they complain. They’re aghast at the idea of taking a nap.


It seems as though the real hard-chargers in this mixed-up world, people like Michael Jordan and Oprah Winfrey, Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Wozniak, Jamie Dimon and any Mexican drug cartel boss worth his salt rarely go to sleep.

Who Has Time To Sleep?

Maybe that’s the key to their fabulous success. Maybe that’s why Donald Trump and Lady Gaga are who they are. They’re blazing trails while the rest of us are laying on the sofa.

Oh, sure, they have piles of dough. Big deal. I’ve got my naps.

I was thinking about all this yesterday when I went to go see young Dr. Joe Mackey at the Eye Center. I went in for my one-week follow up exam after eye surgery. The verdict: All is well. That’s pretty much all Mackey said to me.

As always, he was in a mad rush.

I’ll bet he’s one of the people who don’t sleep much. The guy darts from room to room like a crystal meth fiend. He once told me that on his day for surgery he performs 14 or so procedures. Sheesh! The other days of the week he’s peering into and jiggering with the eyes of dozens and dozens of people each day.

If I tried to keep up his pace for fifteen minutes I’d have to take a nap. A good long one — 45 minutes, maybe, or an hour.

What An Exhausting Day!

On the bell curve of human sleep needs, he and I occupy the opposite flanges.

Guys like Mackey, big time sports stars, Hollywood actors and actresses, corporate CEOs, big city mayors — all sorts of high achievers seem to be racing every minute of the day. And their days last from before dawn often until after midnight.

Mackey could have elected to live a nice, relaxed lifestyle. He could have opened his own opthalmology practice in some far off locale where he’d see a couple of patients a day. That’s what I would have done. He could do one eye surgery a week. Maybe one every couple of weeks.

Then he could take a nap.

You’re My Third Patient This Month!

But he chose to go to work for a multi-million-dollar eyeball factory. The Eye Center has dozens of employees, its own surgery center in the basement, enough high-tech, high-buck machines to fill a medium-sized warehouse, and most likely a huge debt load. If you work for old man Grossman and his partners, you’d better be ready to hustle from room to room, checking patients out and sending them home, calling for the next one, chop chop, saying only what you need to say, generating revenue.

This, said Hyman Roth to Michael Corleone in ” The Godfather Part II,” is the business we’ve chosen.

We talk a lot about doctors needing a comforting bedside manner these days. We need the doc to hold our hands while she tells us to lay off the pie and the french fries. That’s fine for a general practitioner. They have to lay the oil on us if only to get us to open up and tell them about the ache in our knees or the funny mole on our back.

But specialists like Mackey don’t need to cajole information out of us. They’ve got special skills and devices that can tell them a hundred times more about us than we ever could. Then, when it’s time to act, they wield other devices like Jedi knights, they flutter their fingers over our most fragile organs with a deftness that borders on magic.

Has The Patient Been Prepped?

Mackey shined some tiny beacons into my eyes and muttered notes to an assistant who transcribed his impressions at the keyboard. “Terrific,” he said. “Excellent.” “Very good.” “Healing well.” “Vision better than can be expected.”

I felt flattered, as if somehow I had a hand in the whole procedure. “Yeah,” I said, “I feel great. No complaints.”

Dr. Mackey recoiled slightly from his machine, as if he were surprised I was there. And you know what? He probably was.

He’d been commenting on his own handiwork. He’s a borderline magician and he knows it.

Voila — You Can See!

And the truth is, without that confidence, without that arrogance, he wouldn’t be one-tenth as good as he is.

How big does your ego have to be to carve up another person’s eyeball and hope not only that you don’t blind the poor sap but can actually make him see better?

Answer: Huge.

Mackey pulled his diagnostic machine away and wished me a pleasant weekend. And like that he was out the door. He moved so fast I thought there’d be a sonic boom.

Dr. Joe Mackey is of a different breed than I am. Maybe even a different species. But that’s what makes him so spectacularly good.

Me? I’m gonna take a nap.

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.

The Pencil Today:


“We who are about to die salute you.” — Spartacus, et al


One of the odd things I’ve learned since moving to the bustling metrop of Bloomington, Indiana, is that graduation day is considered a major event here — and I’m not referring to the viewpoint of the graduates.

We in Bloomington long for the final day the 40,000 or so students will be in town because it’s the start of three months of bliss around these parts.

State Road 45/46 Congestion During The School Year

We’ll actually be able to park around Courthouse Square. The grocery stores won’t be jammed with students and their parents filling shopping carts with competing lists of products (the students loading up on frozen pizzas and the parents stuffing salad greens into the carts.) And nineteen-year-old kids won’t be clogging up the town’s arteries with their bought-and-paid-for luxury SUVs.

So, we’ll enjoy our brief respite from the little darlings. Come August, though, we’ll be starting to feel a tad nostalgic for all their parents’ money we can squeeze out of them.


So I lied yesterday when I said I’d put up some Hot Air around three o’clock, after my pre-surgery appointment with the ophthalmologist.

Well, it wasn’t a lie exactly. I’d fully intended to pound out a screed or two later in the day when I published yesterday’s mini-post. Only after having my pupils dilated to the size of dimes and having a passel of eye techs poke and probe my cornea and measure my ocular jelly ball from every possible angle for three hours, I decided the world might survive without my daily dose of wisdom just this once.

Anyway, here’s the prognosis — the doc over at Old Man Grossman’s Eye Center has me scheduled for surgery two weeks from this past Thursday. He promises that, with the help of lasers and drugs, he’ll restore sight to my left eye. Cool. I’ve been a virtual cyclops for a couple of years now.

The doc marveled at the size of the occlusion in my lens. He called it a hyper-mature cataract. He also assured me the Grossman operation has the heavy equipment to demolish it and cart the debris away.

The only thing that bugs me is having an old man’s ailment. But I’m not one to shy away from the truth (much) so let me state for the record here and now: I am now officially an old man.


Can we now all agree that football is the dumbest-assed of all sports?

The NFL’s Latest Victim

Former San Diego Chargers linebacker Junior Seau is only the latest NFL vet to take his own life, ostensibly because his brain had been turned to mush by the tens of thousands of body hits he’d taken in his life.

With mind-addled players dropping like flies, you’d think the NFL might actually do something about all the trauma. But no, we Americans dig it all too much.

Callers to radio sports talk shows and even an NFL player or two have said, hell, guys like Seau made bushels of dough playing the game, that everything they have they owe to football, so stop all the hand-wringing and sob-sistering.

In 2000 years, the only significant change we’ve made to the spectacle of gladiators facing off in an arena is that we don’t tolerate them actually taking each others’ lives in front of our eyes.

Now we prefer them to shoot themselves in the privacy of their own bedrooms.


You only have two more chances to vote in the 2012 Indiana primary: Monday and Tuesday. No excuses; it’s the least damned thing you can do.

Wear This Or Just Shut Up

Electron Pencil event listings: Music, art, movies, lectures, parties, receptions, benefits, plays, meetings, fairs, conspiracies, rituals, etc.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

City Hall, Showers PlazaFarmer’s Market; 8am-1pm

◗ Bloomington B-Line Trail between 4th & 5th streets — The Really, Really Free Market, products, services, food; 10am

Hardin Ridge RA, Hoosier National Forest — “Take Pride in America Day,” annual volunteer call out sponsored by US Forest Service; 9am-5pm

IU Assembly HallUndergraduate commencement ceremony; 10am

Habitat ReStoreGrand reopening; 10:15am-5:30pm

Vintage Phoenix Comic BooksFree Comic Book Day 2012, annual comic book giveaway; 11am-7pm

IU Mathers Museum of World CulturesExhibits, “Blended Harmonies: Music and Religion in Nepal”; through July 1st — “Esse Quam Videri (To Be, Rather than To Be Seen): Muslim Self Portraits; through June 17th — “From the Big Bang to the World Wide Web: The Origins of Everything”; through July 1st, 9am-4:30pm

IU Grunwald (SOFA) GalleryMFA & BFA Thesis 3 exhibitions; through May 5th, Noon

IU Kinsey Institute GalleryExhibit, “Man as Object: Reversing the Gaze”; through June 29th, 1:30-5pm

The Venue Fine Arts & GiftsExhibit, Daniel Lager; through May 17th

The Solution LabConference, Bloomington Startup Weekend, for developers, designers, entrepreneurs, etc.; through Sunday

◗ Ivy Tech Waldron Arts Center Exhibits at various galleries: Angela Hendrix-Petry, Benjamin Pines, Nate Johnson, and Yang Chen; all through May 29th

“Vicissitudes” By Yang Chen

Sembower FieldIU Baseball vs. Nebraska; 1pm

IU Assembly HallUndergraduate commencement ceremony; 3pm

Cafe DjangoRon Kadish on bass & Kevin MacDowell (Kid Kazooey) on guitar; 6:30-8:30pm

Brown County Playhouse“Under the Umbrella: Life Is a Circus” by Steven Ragatz; 7-8:15pm

Paynetown SRA, Monroe Lake — “Sunset on the Water,” Interpretive naturalist Jill Vance leads a paddling tour of the lake shore, bring your own canoe or kayak; 8pm

Comedy AtticTJ Miller; 8 & 10:30pm

Rachael’s CafeIrene & Reed; 8pm

The BluebirdDot Dot Dot; 8pm

Dot Dot Dot

Max’s PlaceBluesky Back; 8pm

Cafe DjangoLuke Gillespie Trio; 9-11pm

Bear’s PlaceThe Unknown; 9pm

◗ Farm Bloomington, Rootcellar Lounge“The Booty Basement,” all-vinyl ’70s disco party; 10pm

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