I’LL CHANCE IT

I had cataract removal surgery on my left eye this morning. It went like a dream—full of colorful visual images of clouds, squiggly forms, some even resembling Henry’s latest stuffed toy, a blue narwhal, a small whale with a tusk coming out of the front. Like dropping acid.

Thanks to Henry’s menagerie of stuffed animals, I’ve become an eager student of zoology, ichthyology (science of fish), and birdology.

“What are you calling the narwhal?” I ask Henry after he tosses it at my head, waking me up from a 2-hour nap after I got home from surgery.

“Norman,” he says.

When Henry forgets Llama Louie even for several days, with the latter’s deep spiritual teachings and radical optimism, the house can feel a little gray. Still, no snow yesterday (boohoo), skies are blue, several exchanges with my handsome surgeon John Frangie (“You’re high maintenance, you know?” says he), no pain—what’s there to complain about?

Speaking of cataract surgery, I wish there was something like it for my mind. It blurs all the time—the news, the Middle East, anger with a neighbor, impatience with manic Henry and Norman, even Aussie (Again I have to walk you!), the winter squash soup I made that didn’t come out right. I practice on and on, my perceptions blurring and unblurring. I clean my contact lens from blurriness like I wash my dishes after a meal.

Only cataract removal is way quicker!

Many people see much better right after the surgery; in my case, with keratokonus, it’ll take another 6 weeks or so, no catastrophe here. But the Handsome Surgeon dissolved the cataract, fog and confusion all gone. He inserted a new lens inside the eye and in about 6 weeks I will see clearer than I’ve seen in years.

What about my mind? Why sit forever and ever, morning after morning, evening after evening? Imagine a surgical procedure where, when I wake up from anesthesia, I REALLY WAKE UP!

But who knows what I’ll wake up to? After cataract removal, I wake up to the Handsome Surgeon. After mind surgery, I may just wake up to see more of the suffering of the world. Bernie used to warn about that.

Okay, I’ll chance it.

Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone here. Thank you for your love and support, thank you for your financial assistance to immigrant families and to me. You know, those emails that come in from PayPal—You have received payment—or the checks that I find each Monday in my post office mailbox, all those are mini-surgeries on my mind, clarifying the total unpredictability of life and that I only am because you are.

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