I’ve always been very shortsighted.
So I’ve always worn contact lenses.
Years ago I heard about laser eye surgery, it sounded great.
You could have your eyes fixed and you wouldn’t need contact lenses.
You’d have real eyes like a normal person.
Because it was still in the early stage I didn’t know anyone who’d had it done.
But I decided to take a chance.
They told me it was a minor operation.
Just a local anaesthetic, and I could go back to work afterwards.
So I booked an appointment for mid-day at the Cromwell Hospital.
They sat me in a chair and held my eyelids open with clamps like the ones in Clockwork Orange.
Then the laser beam vapourised the top layer of my cornea.
(Apparently they have to burn off enough to reshape the cornea into a corrective lens.)
Then they bandaged the eye up.
I got a taxi and went back to work.
I sat down at my desk and picked up a script, but it swam in front of my eyes.
I couldn’t focus.
Some letters seemed really close and some seemed far away.
I kept blinking, trying to get it in focus, but the type kept getting bigger and smaller.
It was like trying to read through the rippling surface of a pond.
I’d move my head back to try to see the bigger letters, then forwards to see the smaller letters.
I was beginning to feel really queasy.
I looked at the other scripts on my desk.
The top one was swimming so much I didn’t even look through the rest.
I was beginning to feel seasick.
I looked at the clock.
The face of the clock was rippling with strange wobbly numbers.
I couldn’t even bring the clock into focus.
I felt like throwing up.
Obviously my brain must have been affected by the laser treatment.
I wasn’t expecting that.
Maybe the best thing to do was get some sleep, and hope my brain unscrambled itself.
So I got a cab, went straight home and crawled into bed.
The next morning I woke up and felt better.
I looked around the room and everything seemed okay.
I got dressed, I went into work.
I went to my desk and all the paperwork was there.
I looked at it and it looked fine.
Everything was the right size, nothing swam before my eyes.
I breathed a huge sigh of relief.
Then I noticed the waste paper basket was full of crumpled paper.
I fished some of it out and the letters started to swim again.
They were big and small and wobbly.
So I called our secretary.
I said “Nicky, do you know what this is about, all this strange, uneven paper in my waste-basket?”
She laughed and said ” Oh yes: Gordon photo-copied everything on your desk to appear wobbly.
He wanted it all bendy for you when you came back from your operation. He even did it with the clock face. I told him I thought it was a bit cruel, but he assured me you’d find it amusing.”
And to be fair, he was right.
Some ideas are too good not to do.
Even if they are unkind.