by Nic Olson
Eye health is not necessary for life. This is why it is not free to go to the optometrist. This does not, however, explain why it costs so damn much to let some kid a year older than yourself look at your eyes for five minutes, diagnosing what I could have without his fifty year old lens equipment and multimillion dollar OptiPhoto technology which takes a 200degree shot of the back of your eye. Blind people live incredibly fulfilling lives, thanks to braille, great radio announcers and recorded music.
I didn’t know what time my appointment was, so I sat on the leather couch outside the unlit office at 8am, waiting for the doors to open at 8:30. It is important to know what time your appointment is, so you aren’t late, but also so you don’t show up thirty minutes early. Saskatchewan’s token old people mall-walked to bargain bin gospel Christmas music a week overripe, clucking about Norwegian cruise ships. Old people are not the only ones with bad vision. I have been addicted to glasses since first grade. How do you trust a six year old when he says his vision is bad? I think that wearing glasses for over half of my life has been a cause of my deteriorating vision, and every time they give me a stronger prescription, my eyes will just get worse. I have come to believe that perfect vision is a luxury beyond all other bodily functions.
Dental health is not necessary for life, although many Colgate touters will tell you that some absurd percentage of deaths in the middle ages were due to poor oral hygiene. This is why it is not a free service. This does not, however, explain why it costs so damn much for some other rich man to insult you and dig and scrape your off-white canines for gold. The toothless lead regular lives just like you, thanks to Jello, dentures and Black & Decker blenders.
When I live in Montreal I live a life of risk. I walk to school on icy streets. I freeze my ass in icy apartments. I don’t have a health card because in Quebec you more or less have to prove that you are committed to living there for the rest of your life and denounce your family heritage before they’ll give one to you. I am the definition of ‘living on the edge’.
It is not only the blind that cannot see, nor the toothless that cannot chew, nor the old that cannot walk. It is also the diseased. I am not the only one who feels out of place everywhere I go. The neurotic lead regular lives also, thanks to complete series on DVD, living through friends who travel, and heavy medication. I have two of these.