Got Bubbles Inna Eyes?
I was tucking Michael into his bed. He was about two and a half and smelled of Mr. Bubble and baby lotion. His chubby little hands suddenly grasped my face and he stared intently into my eyes.
“Got bubbles inna eyes?” he said.
I nodded affirmatively. I wasn’t quite sure what he meant. His imagination had been very active as of late. There was a six foot butterfly that sometimes liked to watch us eat dinner through the dining room window and a Mrs. Hippo who liked to ring the doorbell even though we couldn’t hear it. As teachers, Kim and I knew the best way to encourage creativity and imagination in children is to play along. Later we would discover that the same tactic is also effective with elderly parents who suffer from dementia.
Michael seemed pleased by my answer. The next day he repeated the statement while staring into Kim’s face.
“Got bubbles inna eyes, Mama?” he asked.
She nodded. Later she and I figured out that he was talking about room lights reflecting in our pupils. The lights appear round and white so Michael used the only vocabulary he had to describe what he saw. They looked like bubbles from his bath so that’s how he referred to them. It’s also a very appealing metaphor. Bubbles, balloons, and balls bring out the little kid in most of us. As an example, the Clintons and the Kaines clearly enjoyed playing with the balloons and balls dropped at the 2016 Democratic Convention.
It’s a very human trait to use words from our old experiences to try and describe new ones. Exhibit A is that every new meat people try “tastes like chicken.” It is also said that Native Americans described their first experiences of European ships as seeing men walking on clouds. Whether the story is true or not, it makes sense. We all see the world around us through the prism of our previous experiences.
Michael is grown up now and we were recently on my deck, enjoying the cool forest breezes after a hot day.
“Wow, Dad,” he said. “Your eyes are really sparkling in this light.”
As my three loyal readers know, I have undergone two cataract surgeries in the last couple of months. Evidently, my newly embedded plastic lenses sparkle in certain light. I’ve gone from bubbles to stars. Looking at my sister-in-law is even weirder. She only had one eye done so she has a bubble in one eye and a star in the other. I imagine that people who don’t understand the source of this phenomena could find sparkling eyes quite disconcerting.
An example of this confusion might possibly be the basis for a story that David Daleidon once told on a national talk radio show. To refresh your memory, Mr. Daleidon was responsible for the videos that falsely accused Planned Parenthood of trafficking in baby parts. I happened to hear an interview with him while driving home late one night. It was an AM station that I don’t normally get so I apologize in advance for not being able to cite my source properly.
The interviewer was obviously sympathetic and gave Mr. Daleidon the opportunity to tell his side of the discredited videos. In summary, he claimed that abortion doctors are evil and when fighting evil, all is fair. But what struck me about his argument was his description of a female abortion doctor that he had met. He claimed her eyes weren’t human and that he could see an evil light in them. He stated with great certainty that he could see the red glow of the devil that possessed her. At the time, I dismissed his assertion as the over active imagination of a religious zealot. But now I wonder. The doctor was old enough to have had the same cataract surgery I had. Perhaps the unnatural evil light he saw was merely the reflection of light off of the plastic lenses that had been inserted into her eyes.
I probably can’t ever test my hypothesis, but that’s okay. As a science enthusiast, I don’t have a problem with unanswered questions. The point is that perspective and prior experience determine how we see and describe the world around us. Mr. Daleidon overlooked Jesus’ admonition to “Remove the log from your own eye before criticizing the speck in someone else’s eye. He instead followed the adage that the eyes are the windows of the soul. It was a perverse moral choice that arguably led to the murder of three innocent people at the clinic in Colorado Springs.
The eyes are not the window to anything except possibly certain thought processes that are going on in the brain. Eyes are semi-spherical sacs of fluid that gather and refract/ reflect light rays. No more, no less. Whether we see bubbles, stars or devils in them is more a reflection of ourselves than of what we are looking at. Eyes are more like mirrors than windows. It’s a lesson a lot of people need to learn.