Are you old enough to remember the expression, “My eye!,” from the ‘40s and ‘50s? Instead of exclaiming, “You liar!” or “I doubt that very much!,” we sputtered, “My eye!” It was a polite way of indicating disbelief.
“I wrestled with a wild tiger today,” a fourth grader might boast on the playground. “A wild tiger? My eye!” could easily be the retort.
Handling disbelief sixty years ago was noticeably different from the way we handle it now. Ladylike behavior was valued above all—to the point, sometimes, of absurdity. Today, of course, the response on the lips of a ten-year-old could easily be unprintable.
However, this post is not about archaic slang. It’s just that I’ve been thinking about that expression because of my eyes. For a span of ten weeks, I have not had the right prescription in my eyeglasses, so my eyes have been straining. Faltering. Stinging. A source of annoyance. I have muttered the plural form of “My eye!” probably a hundred times in the last two-and-a-half months, which is what made me think of that archaic slang in the first place.
But now—finally—after ocular implants (two, a month apart), plus the mandated four weeks of healing after the second surgery, I have the right correction in my glasses. After ten optically fuzzy weeks, I can clearly see my book, my newspaper, the view out my window, and my computer’s monitor. I can also see dust and cobwebs and rings around the bathtub. (Notice the lack of the personal pronoun in the last sentence. At our house, those things belong to everyone.)
I feel very lucky to have been able to obtain crystal clear implants and updated prescription for eyeglasses, thanks to Medicare and a nest egg earmarked for such expenses.
“Write about your cataract surgery, and you’ll pick up 1,000 blog readers,” says the jester.
The writer retorts, “My eye!”