A few of you have never had to wear contacts or glasses. This article is for you. You have been missing out. Most likely, you have never been to the optometrist.

Obviously, before you get these optical devices to put in or on your eyes you need to go to the optometrist who will determine what sort of eyewear you need. Here is the typical way this appointment goes:

You sit in a big black comfortable chair and the optometrist puts a big black flat machine up to your face and you hear things clicking into slots and you see letters appear in front of one eye. Then the Optometrist says “Okay which one is clearer – A?” (and here he makes a change and the same letters are still visible but they either look more or less blurry), “Or B?”

You say “A” (for example)

Here the Optometrist takes note and then makes some slot clicking adjustments. Soon the letters appear with a different degree of blurriness:

Optometrist: Okay, how about now? A <clicking> or B
You: B
Optometrist: Okay

. . . and the answer is noted and the cycle starts all over again.

This cycle is repeated perhaps two dozen more times with the differences between A and B getting slimmer. Pretty soon you are having difficulty determining which one is better.

Optometrist: Okay, how about this one. A <clicking> or B
You: Um, . . .. . . B.
Here the Optometrist (I’ll call him Opto for short henceforth) pauses as if considering: “Doesn’t this guy know what looks clear to him?”
Opto: Okay, and how about this one? A <clicking> or B.
You: Longer pause – these two look very much like the last pairing. You’re about to say something, but too late, because Opto repeats himself:
Opto: <clicking> A <clicking> or B.

If this happens to you, consider it to be a warning – as if he is saying: “You are trying my patience and putting me a bit on edge. You need to focus and answer more quickly.”

I recommend that you acquiesce and give him an answer.

You: B!

The cycle continues.
Opto: I . . see, well, <clicking> how about this one – A <clicking> or B?
This one may be the first of many where your mind screams – how can I tell? You’re just showing me a series of letter that are blurry vertically and then the same letters blurry horizontally – neither is clear at all! I would just be picking randomly!”

But whatever you do – don’t say that out loud. Don’t really even think it. Just think to yourself – “Okay now it doesn’t really matter – Even if I goof this one up – my contacts will still be good enough to, say, drive, at least in the daylight. I’ll just answer randomly. He’ll never know.”
You: (as confidently you can) A!

This is true, he won’t ever know – to a certain extent, but don’t do this forever, because eventually. . . .

Opto: And here? A <clicking> or B.
You: B!
Opto: <Long Pause> <Here, don’t give into the temptation to suddenly say “I mean A!” You won’t help anything. But back to –
Opto: <Long Pause> Sir, is this some kind of practical joke?
You: What?
Opto: Do you think this is funny?
You: Do I think . . . what?
Opto: I suspected that you were not answering seriously. This time you answered ‘B’, but you were obviously unaware that I just showed this same pair to you three pairs back and you answered ‘A’. Now you must know that you are only hurting yourself by giving false answers. What gives?

Now the first question that may come to your mind is: “’What gives?’ Isn’t that phrase only used in bad literature and goofy cop movies from the sixties?” – again, do not ask this question out loud. And again, nor should you blurt out a statement about neither of the options looking good. Believe me, this will just play into his hands, to wit: He may use it as an excuse to send you to a specialist, just to get you off his hands.

Rather, you should – Uh Oh, too late, He’s getting up.
Opto: I’m sorry, sir, I’m going to have to confer with my internist.

Now obviously he has no need to confer with anyone, least of all his internist – he’s upset and needs to vent. Despite the fact that he carefully shuts the door, you should at this point keep your ears open and maybe you’ll hear the conversation – yes, there it is.

Opto: “I got a wise guy.”
Internist: “Again?”

See Part 2 Here