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Competing in the Pink Eye Event

February 24, 2014 - Diane Laney Fitzpatrick
I'm one of those people who only watches the Olympics to see the ice dancers get pushed to the brink and plot each others' kneecap injuries. (I also watch the Superbowl for the commercials and I read Playgirl for the articles.) So I didn't think I was missing much by skipping the Winter Olympics in Sochi this year.

And then Bob Costas got pink eye and I had to rethink my television viewing habits.

Not that I enjoy seeing someone suffer from the most unattractive illness next to leprosy. I myself had a pretty severe eye infection a couple of years ago, so I can relate to Bob and his disgusting eye. I really wanted to see Bob's eye infection to a successful conclusion; that conclusion being a return to his dignified career and to stop grossing everyone out.

At least he got to explain to millions of people around the world why he was wearing his glasses and his face was all messed up. When I had my eye infection, I didn't have an international audience and the people I did see were too polite to ask what was up with the grody eye. Believe me, I'd have preferred a rude question blurted out. Then I could have explained that I had an official eye infection, diagnosed by a real doctor who went to medical school, and whose orders I was under to not wear my contact lenses, not wear mascara, in fact, I couldn't keep any makeup at all on my face, because there was a constant stream of tears running down my blush zone. But because no one asked, I looked like a homely drug addict with a common cold who had just been dumped by her boyfriend.

You only have to type in Bob Co in the Google search line before you get results like Bob Costas eye infection gross blech ew icky. That's because eye infections are the worst.

Mine lasted about 6 months. It happened to be at the time that my daughter was auditioning at music schools, so I was traveling and reuniting with old friends "while we're in town." It was winter, too, and we were traveling in the frigid North from Florida, where I didn't even own a pair of closed-toed shoes. My red puffy eyes, tear tracks and glasses were offset only by the outdated, ill-fitting winter clothes I was wearing.

In Indiana I got together with my husband's cousin, who I was meeting in person for the first time. In Cleveland I saw more people that I knew than strangers. By the time we got to New York, we met up with my niece, who was in town with half of her dad's family and her new boyfriend. The reunions and first impressions were racking up for me. Lots of photos were taken. And I had the eyes of someone who is days away from a junkie's sad, lonely death.

That and the glasses. I know glasses are the accessory of the decade and everyone's favorite perpetual hipster, Johnny Depp, wears empty frames even though he has 20/20 vision, but I didn't have those kind of glasses. I had the on-sale-at-Lens-Crafters glasses, the whatever-my-pathetic-vision-insurance-will-pay-for glasses, which had lost both rubbery nose-piece cushions and hurt - physically - to be on my face.

Bob Costas explained the appearance of his glasses by using an old cartoon reference: "I have no choice to go all Peabody and Sherman on you for the next couple of nights," he said. I cringed and let out a little moan, and I was joined by every woman who ever had nightmares about having to wear her glasses in her own wedding.

I feel for the guy. He had a public stage on which to explain away his red eyes and glasses, but he'll forever be known as The Eye Infection Guy. His eye was the number one trending topic on Google, his left eye had its own Twitter account, and the infection went viral - both ways.

He did make it back to Sochi, though, just in time to remind us that under normal, non-pink-eye conditions, he's not bad looking.

~ ~ ~

Diane Laney Fitzpatrick is the author of Home Sweet Homes: How Bundt Cakes, Bubble Wrap, and My Accent Helped Me Survive Nine Moves. Her Just Humor Me column runs here on her website at www.DianeLaneyFitzpatrick.com.

 
 

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