Recently, Maine’s resident grump, 45-year-old Marla*, had a startling realization: her vision may actually be failing.
I sat down to interview Marla last week.
“Well, I was driving down the road when it hit me,” she said, adjusting the J. Lo reading glasses she bought for $11.99 at Target.
“That you couldn’t see anymore?” I nodded.
“No, the moose standing in the road. I thought it was a pile of leaves.”
Apparently, Marla had been suffering for years with poor eyesight but continued to live her life as if everything else was to blame for her affliction.
“Oh, I convinced myself it wasn’t that I couldn’t actually see the instructions on the Ex-Lax bottle,” Marla said. “Obviously, it was because every company in America suddenly conspired to start making products with tiny blurry font just to frustrate the shit out of me.”
Not soon after the moose incident, things reached a breaking point when Marla suffered an embarrassing incident at the local Grab & Get Out. She was talking to her husband for a good ten minutes, when she slowly realized it wasn’t him.
“I was telling him not to buy the unscented deodorant, but the extra-strength key lime pie one, when I noticed something strange,” she recalled. “He wasn’t responding with his usual, ‘Yes, dear. Whatever you say, dear. Just please stop talking for the love of god, dear.’ Turns out it wasn’t my husband I was talking to at all. It wasn’t even a man. It was a stack of paper towels in aisle three.”
Marla went on to admit her blurry vision probably was to blame for the unfortunate Chili Catastrophe of 2014. “I had spent all morning making a big batch for my family reunion,” she tearfully recalled. After serving everyone, she was about two bites in her own bowl of chili when she realized she had unwittingly mistaken teaspoon for tablespoon. And cayenne pepper for chili powder. And a lit candle for a glass of water. Her comments about that fateful day? “Let’s just say now I have to draw my eyebrows on with a Sharpie.”
Sadly, Marla also suffers from the little-understood disorder, BDP or Bad Depth Perception.
People with BDP have a difficult time accurately judging distances. Simply pulling up to a Dunkin’ Donuts drive-thru without completely taking out the speaker post is nearly impossible. Marla faces the shame of struggling with everyday tasks such as inserting a key into a lock, parking a car, and paying for a box of Thin Mints.
“I was handing a ten dollar bill to a Girl Scout when I noticed she wasn’t taking it,” Marla cried softly. “Because I was a good three feet away from her outstretched hand! I kept shoving the money closer and waving it around, still just out of her reach. I shouted at her to ‘just take the damn money’ but it was of no use because at that point she was crying. I was arrested for ‘cruel and persistent taunting’ and faced possible jail time. On the day I reported to the courthouse, I spent 45 minutes waiting for my case to be called before I realized I was actually standing in line at a Starbucks.”
After ordering a java chip frappuccino and attempting to pay with an old gift card from Taco Bell, Marla eventually made her way to the courthouse and was sentenced to 200 hours of community service. Unfortunately, she was ordered to pick up trash on the side of the road, a task unbelievably frustrating for someone suffering from hellacious depth perception.
“After eight straight hours toiling in the blazing sun, I managed to collect no trash at all, none!” Marla said. “And in the process stabbed myself in the foot several times.” But even the subsequent tetanus shot didn’t break her resolve to remain in denial about her poor eyesight. When asked if jail time would finally prompt her to seek treatment, such as a stronger prescription or LASIK surgery, Marla responded with the scoffiest of scoffs, “What? No! My eyes are fine! Just fine, dammit!” And then she scoffed some more.
Although her story is tragic, there is hope that someday she’ll buy better glasses, or at least ones that don’t come in a tacky pink leopard print. How many more Girl Scouts will needlessly suffer in the meantime? One can only guess, and my guess is a crapload.
Please, if you or someone you know suffers from either piss-poor vision or BDP, help them get help to help you help them before it’s too late. The moose and that guy that works at the Dunkin’ Donuts drive-thru thank you.
*not her real name (but it’s pretty damn close if you catch my drift, and I think you do. OK, I’ll shut up now. But first, can you read me the back of this pill bottle?)