My family and I have been going to the same optometrist for decades. My grandma and grandpa saw him for their ocular needs many moons ago and my aunt first started seeing him when she was in high school in the late 70s. I first met him when I was around five and I got a piece of shell stuck in my eye.
We’ve loved him like he… Oh, you want to know how in the heck I got a piece of shell stuck in my eye?
(I’m gonna be really long-winded here, so bear with me.)
Well, so, there’s this lake in our neck of the woods that is all dirt, shells, clay and, of course, water. Not a single tree or bush, save eight billion sagebrush bushes. No matter the season, time of day, or day of the week, it’s windy as a mofo. I’ve witnessed more tents, sleeping bags, water floaties, and coolers succumb to the elements and be dragged out to the middle of the lake to never be seen again than you can even wrap your head around. So, I think you can imagine now how a piece of shell could lodge itself in one’s eye. Thus, my first encounter with Dr. M.
When I turned 12 and was immediately struck nearsighted, (actually, that’s not how it happened. I was probably half blind for a year before anyone realized that why I was so bad at math was that I just couldn’t see any of the equations on the board. Except, that’s TOTALLY not why I’m bad at math. Anyway…), I started going to Dr. M regularly.
My grandpa died when I was a mere babe, so getting to see Dr. M every year for my check up was what I imagined hanging out with my grandpa would have been like.
My entire family and I are truly fond of him, and whenever one of us has an eye appointment, the rest of us wait with bated breath for a new Dr. M story or classic line we can chuckle about for years.
So, without further ado…
Things My Beloved Oldster Armenian Optometrist Says:
“Let me get you some extra sample contact solution, but you can’t tell any of *them*. You have to put it in your purse. Is this going to fit in your purse? Open up your purse, let’s see if it will fit.
“Do you use the good contact solution? No? Do you do lattes? Yes? Well, no more lattes and you can buy the good contact solution. Done.”
“You know *insert really famous actress he actually knows personally here*? She’s a really interesting person, but she is not a looker.”
The optometrist’s assistant *In a keep-this-on-the-DL-way*: “We are going to start in this room, but we will be moving to exam room 1 when it becomes available, because this room is too stuffy for Dr. M.”
Dr. M, leading me out of the too-hot exam room: “Let’s get out of here. This room is too hot. I don’t do hot!”
“I remember walking through the war-torn streets for bread for dinner. I was very young, but reliable enough that my mother trusted me to walk many blocks for our daily meal.”*
Saying to me about the optometrist assistant who was helping me find frames: “I have to ask her before I can leave. Can I leave now?
And, my mom’s favorite story about how he is too cheap/stubborn to get AC in his house, so he walks around his house naked, but his wife won’t let him sit on any of the furniture. He likely told my mom this story to garner some sympathy for his terrible plight.
Whether it’s a story about his famous celebrity friends he made while living in LA or it’s a randomly comical observation about the state of the world today, visiting with Dr. M is never dull or without feeling like I’m being attended to by someone who genuinely cares about my health and latte-buying financial choices.
I just hope that Dr. M knows how much he is revered and loved by all who have been lucky enough to know him.
*I’m not sure I got this right. Or, maybe Dr. M didn’t get it right? Either way, if he was referring to WWII war-torn streets, he lived abroad and he looks really good for his age. He might be referring to another war, or, hell, he’s a really great storyteller. Either way, needing to know more about this man’s fascinating life is a great excuse to make another eye appointment.
A face only a friendly optometrist would love.