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One Glass Eye

April 5, 2024 | McAvoy Lane

What Would Mark Twain Say?

My father was an optometrist, and everybody knew it because I was always making a spectacle of myself. Dear Old Dad had a collection of glass eyes that he kept in a drawer in his shop, and I purloined one of those glass eyes to showoff to my girlfriend when we were in 7th grade. I had it worked out in advance, whereupon I asked her if she’d like to see me wash an eyeball. She said yes and I commenced to fake twisting one of my eyeballs loose from its socket and placing it into my mouth, where I sloshed it around, using my tongue to effectively pop my cheeks out, while my girlfriend went, “Eeeew!”

What she did not know was that I had slipped my father’s glass eye into my mouth, and when I felt my eye was sufficiently cleansed, well, I peeked that glass eye out between my lips and my girlfriend let out a squeal that could be heard in Bangor, Maine. She hates me still.  

So naturally, I was drawn to Mark Twain’s frivolous little peace of literature that featured a glass eye, a portion of which we shall share here…

“Now ol’ Miss Jefferson, there was a good soul. Had a glass eye and used to lend it to old Miss Wagner, who hadn’t any, to receive company in; but it warn’t big enough. Miss Jefferson had a number seven and Miss Wagner was excavated for a fourteen! So when Miss Wagner warn’t noticin’, it would get twisted around in the socket, and look up maybe, or out to one side and every which way, whilst t’other one was looking straight ahead as a spy glass.  Oh, one little wink, and that hand-made eye would lay-over.  Well grown people didn’t mind, but it mostly always made the children cry.”

Happily, as an impressionist of Mark Twain, I was able to work ol’ Miss Jefferson right into my programs in full confidence and comfort that my father and my old girlfriend would approve. So just here, as is our custom, we shall leave the last word to Mr. Twain…

“Well, she was always dropping it out, and turning up her old dead light on the company empty, and making everybody so uncomfortable, because she never could tell when it hopped out, being blind on that side, you see. So somebody would have to hunch her and say, ‘Your game eye has fetched loose, Miss Wagner dear’ -and then they’d all have to sit and wait till she jammed it back in again -wrong side out as a general thing. Well, wrong-side out didn’t make much difference anyway, ‘cuz the glass eye was sky blue on the front side and gilded on the back side; so when Miss Wagner would get excited, it would give a whirl, and flash yaller and blue and yaller -No, it warn’t a Jefferson, it was a Hagadon is what it was!” 

Audio: https://open.spotify.com/show/7Fhv4PrH1UuwlhbnTT23zO

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