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Eye See Her Sarcasm

My children’s annual medical examinations are always insightful...

The good doctor bent over with an oft-practiced, child-welcoming smile.

“Good to see you again,” he said to my young daughter, punny obviously intended for both of us. “It’s hard to believe that it’s already been a year.”

Her feigned smile was overshadowed by her rude silence, a nose twitch, and a half-step back. The optometrist immediately stood up fearing that he had incurred a personal space infraction. Nothing else was said, so we followed him into the examination room.

After a few cursory tests for various ocular defects, developments, and diseases, I watched my daughter exhale as the optometrist turned to his desk to document his observations. My daughter then quickly inhaled and held her breath as he returned to adjust the giant view finder against her face.

“Can you read the first line?”

“Y-O-U-R-R”

She spoke with confidence but only one of the letters was correct. He adjusted the machine and increased the projected font size.

“Okay, try this next one.”

“B-R-E-T-H”

Same confidence. Same number incorrect. Another machine adjustment and another increase in projected letter size on the wall.

“Alright. How about this one... “

“S-T-I-N-X”

I didn’t know if I should laugh, reprimand my daughter, or tip the optometrist. I did nothing as he had again turned to his desk to document his observations. I couldn’t see her eyes behind the large machine, but I definitely witnessed the subtle albeit passive-aggressive, justification-confirming curl at the corner of my daughter’s mouth. I sensed that she felt that a medical professional should have been more professional.

“You’ll need to monitor her over the next six months,” the optometrist said as he spun around on his stool to face us.

“Watch for squinting or her moving closer to the television,” he added as we watched him unwrap a breath mint. “She doesn’t require glasses yet, but her left eye is developing nearsightedness.”

The optometrist then looked at my daughter as he placed the peppermint candy in his mouth.

“However, the development of her not-so-subtle way of sarcastically sharing information is extremely insightful.”

Even though the optometrist was looking at her, I knew that his judgemental comment was directed at me. He then reset the machine to its pre-examination settings.

“Shall we try this again?”

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