Riding the Dawg

Early on a fall morning in 1963 I went to the Stanford clinic with what I thought was an errant eyelash. A thin crooked line was segmenting my field of vision, making it impossible to read or write anything. Before the day was out, an unwholesome interior light was burning semaphores into the underside of my eyelids. After hours of huddling in darkened cubicles, following the light point, the bouncing ball, and the little green arrow with a swollen gaze, I was unwell. My eyes felt like a pair of grotesquely enlarged pinballs, poached and spinning, expanding and contracting like evil planets. I knew I would never get any skin back down over the front side of them or get my pupils to stop flashing colors yet unborn.

It was dismaying, and might well have been; according to the creepy invisible doctor who intoned my fate with what sounded like a smiley lisp, I was one unfortunate bozo. He asked me if I thought I had a tumor. No, I said, do you?

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