12th June


‘Is that better . . . ? Or worse?’

‘Not sure. Can you do it again?’

‘Better . . . ? Or worse?’

‘A bit better.’

‘And again. Better . . . ? Or worse?’

‘About the same. No difference, I’d say. What do you think?’

‘They’re not my eyes, Mr Cruikshank. Not my eyes and not for me to say.’

‘No, you’re quite right. Sorry.’

‘Now, look straight ahead, and in a moment you’ll see some flashing lights
in your peripheral vision. I want you to click the clicker every time you see one of those flashing lights. Okay? Here we go.’

‘Wow! That’s amazing. Oh, sorry, forgot to click. That’s like the aurora borealis or something.’

‘It should only be little flashes.’

‘Not from where I’m sitting. Spectacular display! And what a range of colours!’ ‘That’s very unusual. Are you quite sure?’

‘Actually, I’m kidding you. But they’re not your eyes, like you said. So how
can you be so sure what I’m seeing?’

‘Because that’s the way the test is designed. Please, Mr Cruikshank. If you
don’t tell me what you’re really seeing then there’s no point in proceeding.’

‘I thought maybe you were trying to catch me out.’

‘This isn’t a game, Mr Cruikshank. Are you seeing the flashing lights normally now?’

‘Absolutely. Whatever “normally” means. Am I clicking fast enough?’

‘Let’s try something else. Going back to the chart on the wall, how far down it can you read?’

‘A-B. Top line’s fine. A-N-D. So far so good. O-N-A-L-L. Carry on?’

‘Yes, please.’

‘H-O-P-E-Y. Isn’t that a Red Indian tribe? Sorry, Native American. E-W-H-O-E-N. Getting trickier now. And the bottom line – ooh, tough. T-E-R-H-E-R-E. Am I right?’

‘Very good. I’m going to adjust the lenses slightly. Here are some more letters on the chart. How far can you read now?’

‘Oh, that’s much clearer. A-S. H-I-N. What a difference! I-N-G-C-I. What did you do?’

‘Just a slight adjustment, as I said. Carry on?’

‘T-Y-U-P-O. That’s marvellous. Inspirational, in fact. N-A-H-I-L-L. Great! I’ll take those ones.’

‘But I haven’t finished the tests yet.’

‘Don’t care. I want those lenses. The other ones are depressing. And I’ll have an extra pair, in case of accidents. And sunglasses too, for night-time. Where do I pay?’

Reader: Charlie West
Fiddle: Aidan O'Rourke
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