Archive for the ‘Blind Humor’ Category

I’ve always been bad with names, now I’m bad with faces too.

I never felt bad in the past about forgetting people’s names because NO ONE ever remembered mine. As a person I’m memorable enough, but my name just doesn’t stick. I get called every name but my own. I’ve gotten “Chris” and “Steve”, “Charles” and “Darryl”, and (sigh) “Jose” and “Carlos”.

When I started writing and working in stage/film, I started using pseudonyms. You know what? They stuck. I was never attempting to fool anyone – they often knew my real name as well – but when word gets out that you want to be credited as “Dirk Stairfighter” people take notice.

But even then, my real name got forgotten. I considered it Karma because I have never been able to hold a person’s name in my head before meeting them three times.

If a name is important, I write it down or I say it in my head a zillion times.

Hi James. Nice to meet you James. Would you like a drink, James? Perhaps in a James glass as you sit on your James stool. You, James – yes you, James, will have James’ drink because James is you. You’re James.

If I just meet you like a normal human and have a normal human conversation, by the time we say goodbye I’ve half-forgotten your name. …but at least I’m good with faces!! …or at least I was. Blindness has thrown a monkey wrench in my cover plan. Now, second and third meetings have gone from

Oh, geez! What was this guy’s name again?

to

I know this voice. Where do I know this voice from? …Dad? …God? …Darth Vader?

It’s led to some awkward conversations, especially if they have no idea that since out last meeting I’ve lost a ton of vision. It doesn’t help that I do all I can to appear sighted. (Yes, I know. I’m vain. We’ve covered this topic.)

A couple of weeks ago I went to a table reading and afterwards one of the actresses came up to me and said “Aren’t you going to say ‘Hi’?”. The first thing that popped into my head was

I knew I knew that voice!

I’d been listening to her act for 90 minutes and even heard her name, but until she spoke directly to me (as herself and not her character) I wasn’t sure if I knew her or not.

I quickly explained that I couldn’t really see her, but recognized her voice. Then I cracked a couple of blind jokes to let her know it’s cool that life sometimes throws you curveballs and that there are upsides to everything – even crappy things like going blind. I am learning so much about the world, about industrial design, about human nature, and that the rule The Only Real Limits Are The Ones You Put On Yourself still applies.

Then we caught up like any other colleagues. It was nice to “see” her again.

As we parted, I gave her my card. I did it partially because I’d hoped she’s keep in contact and partially because she never actually called me by name.

Neurosis: Damned If I Do, Damned If I Don’t

When I leave the house without my cane, I feel like a fraud. I feel like I’m pretending that I can see the ground in front of me and that crossing the street doesn’t terrify me.

When I leave the house with my cane, I feel like a fraud. I feel like I’m pretending that I can’t see shapes, colors, movement and (gasp!) print.

I’m neurotic about everything else, why should this be different?

What’s in a name?
I think I’m getting hung up on the label.

When darkness fell this summer (and I had no idea if my sight would return), I immediately thought of myself as blind and found the term “visually impaired” silly, overly-sensitive, and consisting of entirely too many syllables.

Now that I can read a book and (sort of) walk without a cane, it doesn’t seem so silly anymore.

This summer I was BLIND, but now I just have a big blind spot. Referring to myself as “blind” seems disingenuous. I think I’m more comfortable with calling myself “visually impaired” – but still get weirded out if someone else calls me that.

Why? Is my ego THAT fragile? Don’t answer that.

Dark Glasses: My New Love/Hate Relationship
I can see better at night with my dark glasses on. They aren’t tinted very dark, so they help reduce glare day and night. Unfortunately, I’m beginning to feel like a walking stereotype when I wear them at night… so I’ve been taking them off.

I’m willing to walk around with glare in my eyes and trip over every rise in the sidewalk just to prove how unblind I am to strangers who have no idea that I have a vision situation at all.

THAT’S healthy.

What is with the Ray Charles/Stevie Wonder head thing?
Ok, I’m doing it because my neck is sore and my eyes are tired – but if I catch myself I freeze and stand/sit up straight and tall. Then I scan the room to see if anyone saw me.

Why am I doing that? What is UP with that?

…and why don’t I feel stupid doing it without the dark glasses and white cane? It’s a pretty un-cool head gesture. Like Max Headroom or Wm. F. Buckley Jr. my head is just kinda bouncing around.

Infants have better neck control.

Sometimes I’ll wear my white iPhone headphones so people think I’m rockin’ out.

Yep. I’m foolin’ everyone. I’m so smart.

Thank You, Mr. Pryor
I had a chance to catch See No Evil Hear No Evil on YouTube the other day. It’s a silly/stupid comedy with a razor-thin plot but I love both Gene “Young Frankenstein” Wilder and Richard “Brewster’s Millions” Pryor* so it’s easy to forgive them.

The whole first ten minutes felt entirely too familiar. I am BOTH of these characters. Holy crap.

Luckily, it devolved into the over-the-top stereotyping and whacky totally-implausable situations I was hoping for. Then, halfway through the movie, I identified waaay too much with this scene:

When slapstick comedies are imitating life, you’re acting like a stooge.

* (OK, Blazing Saddles and Here and Now were funnier, but I was going PG rated)

My eyelashes are out of control.

Have you seen this commercial?

First of all, to Brooke Shields:

B.

Honey.

It’s going to be okay.

You don’t need to take these kinds of gigs. I know money is tight right now and Suddenly Susan was a long time ago, but you know there are plenty of products out there who would LOVE to have you as their spoke-person. OK. Not Calvin Klein. I’m pretty sure Ralph Lauren is a no go. Ambercrombie and Fitch… American Apparel… Gap! OOH! Old Navy. Oh, wait. You did Old Navy. How about vitamins? Or Orange Juice! Anything but body-modification chemicals.

That wasn’t my point. My point was: Remember this commercial for later in the story.

Vanity, thy name is Lash.
When I was a teenager, a ton of bricks had to fall on me before I knew I was being flirted with. It’s actually pretty embarrassing.

“Hey, my parents are going to be out of town this weekend. I’m gonna be all alone.”

“Make sure you lock all the doors before dark.”

Facepalm.

Anyway. I could always tell when a girl liked me because she would comment on the color of my eyes, or the length of my eyelashes.

OK, I’m not so vain that I can’t see through a teenage excuse to get close to (and stare at) each other – but you get a ton of compliments on a single feature it begins to sink in a little.

Oh, your lashes. The color of them. The thickness. The length. The gentle upward curve.

(OK. Second ton of bricks, just arriving. Wow. 20 years late.)

The beauty of my lashes aside, they were long. Then in my twenties… I got glaucoma.

OK, Back to the commercial.
Like all commercials for Legal Drugs, it has a fast-talking-low-silky-voiced-disclaimer. In case you didn’t hear it, it said:

If you are using prescription products for lowering eye pressure or have a history of eye pressure problems, only use LATISSE® under close doctor supervision.

May cause eyelid skin darkening which may be reversible, and there is potential for increased brown iris pigmentation which is likely to be permanent. There is a potential for hair growth to occur in areas where LATISSE® solution comes in repeated contact with skin surfaces.

If you develop or experience any eye problems or have eye surgery, consult your doctor immediately about continued use of LATISSE®. The most common side effects after using LATISSE® solution are an itching sensation in the eyes and/or eye redness.

The active ingredient in LATISSE® (bimatoprost) was originally marketed as a glaucoma medication. Longer thicker eyelashes were the listed side effects. Now, they’re doing it the other way around.

Wait. What? How can they do that?

They’ve done it before. Propecia, the baldness drug, was once called Finasteride and sold as a treatment for prostate cancer. Then someone decided to market the side effect.

Why do you think the pharmaceutical companies lobbied to outlaw doctors prescribing “off-label” uses? Because the markup is CRAZY. Generic Bimatoprost is 1/10th the cost of LATISSE®.

Is that what you’re taking?

No. I’m on one very similar called Travoprost (and also Dorzolamide… and Timolol… and… Prednisone… and…). Travoprost (brand name “Travatan®”) isn’t the only one that makes my lashes grow – but it’s the one that makes the biggest difference.

My dose is stronger than LATISSE® and I take it twice as often.

Wow. So how long have your lashes gotten?

I’m beginning to feel like a St. Bernard. Who knew eyelashes can get split ends? Is there a conditioner for that?

They smack my glasses and leave smudge marks. And because the drops pool in the corner of my eye, the eyelashes in the corners are nuts.

I’m two weeks into a six week recovery – so I get post-op eye boogers like crazy. Now they have an extra large extra tangled net to get caught in.

Is there such a thing as an eyelash barber? Is there an eyelash cutting tool I’m unaware of?

I have GOT to do something about this.

I Twittered My Surgery. I was awake anyway.

Long time no posts.

Since my last update I healed up pretty normally, then I went out and enjoyed the summer (before surgery number eight) instead of updating my blog. (Sorry about that; thanks for the e-mails.)

I did tweet my eighth eye surgery, however.

Twitter
Twitter, as I’m sure you’ve read, is the online thingee for losers and narcissists.

Hey, dude. Glass houses.

Oversharing to strangers is cheaper than therapy, so I thought I’d give it a shot.

My morning started in much the same way the morning of the last one did. The difference: This time, I brought my iPhone. (Thank GOD! This time the only magazine in the waiting room was the issue of Time with Sarah Palin on the cover.)

They told me to get there at 9:30am. Just like last time this was wildly optimistic. At 11:11, my wife couldn’t take it anymore and had to go ask. That was the subject of my first tweet:

tweet1

OK. Bitching made me feel a little better, and no one here had to hear it.

11:16 AM: I could have slept until noon instead of being stuck in this waiting room! Grrr.

OK. Maybe this is cathartic.

11:37 AM: Im grumpy. Not eating for fourteen hours will do that to you. After surgery, I’m eating a whole cow.

OK. Maybe not.

The ninety minutes came and went, and still I sat. Finally around 1:45 I was taken to the back. I changed clothes and posted a TwitPic.

Still waiting @ 1:59pmtweet2

Five minutes later, I twittered that I finally got my I.V. and twitpicked a picture of it.

It only took four and a half hours to get my I.V. on Twitpictweet3

They swept me away, sliced open my eyeball, tinkered, put a foreign object in, stitched on some alien tissue, and sent me to recovery.

As soon as I got there, the first thing I did was tweet.

tweet4

Hmmmmmm…..?
So, that was my experiment with Live Twittering. Kinda Meh. Maybe I’m doing it wrong.

Summary
Did this experiment make me feel more social? More connected? More 21st Century? Stupid?

Not really, no, yes, and a little.

Another day, another neurosis.

If I’m not already the Village Idiot, I think there should be some sort of vote.

Boy, was I cocky.

I’ve done this six times already,” I kept saying to anyone who would listen. “This is all old hat to me.

Actually, it turns out, I’ve done it seven times. Re-reading my medical records, I’m on number seven. The fact that someone sliced open my eyeball and stuck their hands in just slipped my mind should have been my first clue that I’m not as smart as I like to pretend to be.

The surgery itself went well and they sent me home with instructions I’d heard six seven times already: Don’t do anything strenuous. Don’t bend over. Don’t pick up anything more than 8 pounds. Drink lots of fluids. Don’t eat anything too salty or too spicy. Get lots of bed rest – especially over the first week.

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

I wasn’t listening. I took a Percocet. Straight from the hospital, I hit the grocery store.

In the store, things got a little… expanded.

Mmmmm. Chicken. Boy, this is a strong pill. Ooooh, soup!

Everything in the deli smelled amazing. It didn’t hurt that I hadn’t eaten in sixteen hours. I ate 24 ounces of soup and a fried chicken breast.

I forgot to drink anything.

The next day, my neck disappeared.

This is why I should hydrate
Here’s a picture of me on the 19th, and on the 20th.

Me 7/19/09Me 7/20/09

I’m not the thinnest dude, but I could swear I had a neck yesterday. Puffiness and dehydration are opposites, aren’t they? Not on these drugs.

Drugs, Drugs, Drugs, Baked Beans, and DrugsIMG_0248

All of my clothes and jewelry got tighter overnight but I didn’t notice right away, because I was prescribed just under 48,000 different prescriptions. Some I take in one eye, some in both. Some 4 times a day, some three, some twice, and some once.

No drug can be taken within 10-15 minutes of any other drug. (They’re topical, so they have to “soak in” before another med can be taken.)

I have 14 alarms set to remind me of what drug I’m supposed to take when and in what eye.

You’d think with all the alarms I wouldn’t have the opportunity to get bored, but I did. I did anything and everything I could think of that required no physical exertion. I took photos from the sofa. I watched dust piling up on the electronics. I posted 800 tweets. I watched the bathroom get dirtier.

Boredom makes me stress over bills and my lack of employability. Inactivity makes me notice unclean areas visible from my vantage point. Usually I say Another day, another neurosis, but two at once?

Then for no reason whatsoever, I got The Toast Song stuck in my head.

To distract myself, I decided to clean house.

Cleaning house requires a little bending. Bending is a no-no, so I just cleaned what I could reach by standing, sitting, or squatting. It was half-assed, but I felt better.

Unfortunately, I was still bored. And stressed.

My wife was helping a friend move and I couldn’t be trusted around heavy boxes, so I was at home alone. Bored. Sitting on the sofa drinking Gatorade. That’s when i had the massive pressure spike in my right eye.

From inside it looked like an occular migrane. Colorful dots exploded all over the edges of my vision, but it didn’t hurt. What was happening was my eye pulling an Incredible Hulk move and was ripping open.

EEk!

[Not Safe For Lunch Photos here, here, and here. ]

So I waited several hours before going to the hospital.

I wasn’t sure at first what had happened. Drugs are bad m’kay? I waited until my wife got home to ask her opinion. By then it was getting close to time for my next alarm and I was becoming aware of the the pain, and the scratching on the inside of my eyelid.

The pressure in my eye got so high that I popped two stitches.

Get bed-rest, and I MEAN IT this time!!!
If the pressure spike had come a day earlier, I may not have been healed enough to handle it. (Yay, steroids!) As it was, It was just a minor flesh wound.

I was told to go home and stay on the sofa. That was when Seattle had it’s hottest week in recorded history.

Nice paper-cut you gave me! Why don’t you just pour some nice lemon juice into it?

Holy crap it’s hot. It’s like Africa Hot. Tarzan couldn’t take this kinda hot. And there I am, stuck on a sofa.

Delicate DropsAs the temperature climbed, I was faced with a brand new dilemma.

All of my medications need to stay between 60F and 80F to be effective. Cool DropsThe refrigerator is too cold and my apartment is too hot, so my wife sacrificed her cooler. She gave up cool water on the hottest day ever just for me.

Not to look a gift horse in the mouth, but the ice packs she normally uses made the cooler a little too cold. It’s too warm to use nothing, and the icepacks are overkill. So I improvised.

Trader Joe’s to the rescue, again.

I found other uses for the ice packs. Don’t judge me.

Bloated, Dizzy, Forgetful, and Wandering The Streets Alone

It finally cooled down yesterday, so I decided to take a walk.

It’s been two weeks since the surgery. (Four more weeks until the implant expands and “goes active” and I find out if it’s going to slow the progress of my blindness… or cause a problem of it’s own.) I’m healed enough to start doing “medium level” stuff, so I went to a movie on Saturday and had some friends over for grilled meat and steamed corn on Sunday… then rode to Tacoma to deliver a futon after. I told you I was bored.

Until yesterday, I’ve not been alone outside of my home in two weeks.

The surgery has rendered my glasses useless, so I popped in the contact lens in what used to be my bad eye, donned my black glasses, and grabbed my long cane.

The Long Cane: The Official Cane of Blind People(TM)

It’s a “tappy” style, collapsable cane. It’s the cane you think of when you think of blind people.

Long Cane, CollapsedLong Cane, Extended

I replaced the tappy tip with a “roller” tip. This keeps the tip from getting stuck in every crack in the sidewalk.
Roller Tip

The end of the handle has a strap that doubles as the cane wrangler. Nifty.
Strap, untiedStrap, tied

I took off around noon and got home around three. My right hand felt like I was jackhammering all day. I could swear it was still vibrating for at least ten minutes after I got home.

On the plus side: my neck, shoulders, back, and head hurt much less because I wasn’t staring at my feet the whole time. I’m not going to be able to see forever and I don’t want to waste it staring at the sidewalk, looking for tripping hazards.

I saw so much yesterday that I plan on doing it again tomorrow.

Oh, yeah, …and I’ve been eating spicy food like crazy.

Since My Last Update, We’ve Had Great Weather – Then someone sliced open my eyeball.

OK, since my last update a few weeks have passed. It’s time for the first of my two scheduled glaucoma surgeries. (I’ll be getting the second as soon as they feel the first is stable.) They’re doing my “good” eye first because time is of the essence. My pressure must come down or I will be in total blackness by Christmas. There is no guarantee this will be effective, and there is a small chance my eye will not survive this sixth surgical procedure.

Nothing will restore my already-lost vision, and nothing will keep me from going blind – but this may slow down the inevitable by a few years.

On Monday July 20, I woke up at 6am. I was told to be there exactly at 7.

“Don’t be late but don’t come early, either.” I was told.

What a tight ship they run! I thought to myself.

When 9:30 rolled around, I was still in the waiting room – endlessly flipping through the sole copy of The New Yorker they had. When the nurse came and got me, C was sleeping on my shoulder and I hated to wake her.

In the back, I had a choice of two sizes of hospital gowns. One that would leave my butt hanging out, and one that was just slightly larger than a circus tent. I took two tents. (It’s policy that you wear two.) In the changing room, I stripped completely down (why do I have to take off my underwear for EYE surgery?) and swaddled myself in the acres of gown.

Then I sat around for another two hours “going commando” waiting for my turn under the big lights. I didn’t have my iPhone with me because they told me to bring ONLY my ID (and the clothes on my back)… and now I don’t even have The New Yorker.

By the time they came to get me, I was falling asleep. You can’t sleep during eye surgery.

The procedure itself took just under 90 minutes and was done to the soothing sounds of The White Stripes, Modest Mouse, Franz Ferdinand, Oasis, and The Raconteurs.

It was mildly disturbing having to listen to my doctor give instructions while the resident did some of the work… especially when he said “nononono! over… y… more… there.”

I hated to interrupt them, but the local anesthetic started wearing off and I could totally feel them stitching. (EEeeeewwwwwww!)

Then I saw a flash of light… through the eyeball they were stitching up!

I just had to say something.

Talking at this point was a bad idea (because then they wanted to chit-chat with me during the whole rest of the procedure! I usually don’t like small talk anyway, but when I’m watching a 3-D horror film I’m a bit distracted) but I had to get another shot of pain killer.

Are you familiar with the phrase: Cross my heart, hope to die, stick a needle in my eye? That’s a 3-D experience that never gets old. Six surgeries in, it still makes me grin and say “Cool”.

They squirted some gel over the eye, patched it up, and sent me home. They told me to get bed rest. I went to the grocery store instead. I was on Percocet. I was feelin’ fine.

The next day the bandages came off. I didn’t mind because my eyepatch wasn’t in the least bit piratey. I looked (at best) sorta like The Mummy (from certain angles) or (at worst) like Keyser Soze’s only surviving victim.

KS-Victim

Sarah (of the BosTens) said that I’m about two bandages away from Phantom of the Opera.

Phantom

The implant is set, and I’m not rejecting the donor tissue*. I’m on a pile of medications and have alarms set for 14(!) times through out the day. In between meds, I wander around downtown Ballard with my long white cane. (I finally got one of the “tappy” kinds, I’ll write about it soon.)

I go back on Tuesday to see if I’m still doing well.

My vision through the eye is blurry, but hopefully it will return to pre-surgery level.
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*There aren’t words big enough to express the gratitude to the donor and his/her family for the gift of eyesight. Thanks so much to everyone who is a registered organ donor. Without this tissue, I would not have been able to have this procedure.

Blind People are so meta.

Today @ 1:40pm I am a Time Bandit No More!

I finally have caught up to “live” episodes of Too Beautiful To Live, and plan on tuning in tonight. Apparently, I’m caught up just in time for Luke to go on vacation.

I almost tuned in last night (I realized the time @ 7:04) but decided not to skip my last time-bandited show. Not only did I miss “TBTL is Call Takers”, but I was on!

Freaky… no, wait… meta.

Speaking of TBTL; a tenacious 10 from the U District sent a perfectly timed e-mail, checking up on me again, and she made me realize that I’ve procrastinated long enough. I’ve made a June 15 appointment for 5 Element Acupuncture. I am now entering my Andy Kaufman Phase.

…and with the humidity, my Roseanne Roseannadanna Phase. (Get used to it, Kate Blanchett!)

…and no, I still haven’t met Karen the Cane Lady, yet. I’m waiting for a ton of bricks to arrive first. Damn, I’m stubborn.

I guess my Mr. Magoo Phase is coming concurrently.

[Insert photo of “Andy RosannaMagoo” here].

I’ve looked worse.