Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Cock-Eyed Family Reunions



This weekend's family reunion will be remembered for many awesome moments, and high up on that list will be the conversation I had in a crowded hall with a cock-eyed relative. I can't mention the name of the relative since I'd still like to regard my home and marriage as being a happy one.

The buffet table was laden with delicious meals that would have made a Masterchef contestant proud. I happened to be standing next to a mountain of superbly grilled prawns when I was approached by said squinty-eyed relative. Usually I'm pretty calm under these types of circumstances.
Usually.
Probably because these random meetings with squinty relatives or people in general never usually happens in crowded halls where you suddenly become conscious of your every move.

Like when he sticks his hand out to shake yours and you're not sure if you should grab his hand or follow his eyes which are looking at your crotch.
Also, are they really looking at your crotch?
And what if he's not really sticking his hand out to shake yours, but maybe the hand of the guy standing next to you?
I'd like to think that I'm sensitive to people with a squinty disposition in life.
Squinty is politically correct, not so? I don't know. That's another thing.
What's the right term for people who look East but go West? I really don't know.

I met a guy a few years ago who suddenly became squint after a camping accident. He was never squint before. I know because he was in school with me. Suddenly I meet him years later and his eyes are all over the place, like a heroine addict trying Tik for the first time and his brain is on overdrive. He made me really nervous. I found myself darting my own eyes all over the place. I didn't even know what I was supposed to be looking out for. Cops maybe? A sudden hand expecting a hand-shake? I don't know.
So of course I tried to calm down and make conversation, and I asked him "So when did you become cock-eyed?"
Turns out the term 'cock-eyed' isn't really politically correct. But then nobody tells you what the politically correct term is. They just tell you whats not polite to say. Tell me what is the polite term and I'll use that instead.

Anyways, cock-eyed is not polite.
Squint apparently is borderline.
Wonky and ZigZag are still pending. Personally I'd only use the word Wonky if the owner of wonky-eyes was smaller built than I am. If a guy like Mike Tyson met me in a dark alley with wonky eyes, I wouldn't even mention them. I'd talk about his shoes instead.

Back to this cock-eyed relative.
I finally grabbed his hand, shook it and kept telling myself "Don't look him in the eye."
But that's the whole point of these encounters. It's like saying "Don't look at the elephant in the room." Say it out loud and suddenly everybody is looking for the elephant in the room.
So you know how when you speak to people with accents, invariably you end up speaking slightly differently yourself? Almost as though you were trying to compensate for something?
Well there I was trying to focus both my eyeballs on the tip of my nose for no good reason other than to make him feel comfortable. Don't ask me to explain that.
5 minutes later I had this crazy headache from all the squinting I was doing, and he asked me if I was OK.
You know things aren't going too well when a squinty-eyed guy thinks there's something wrong with you.

If you're reading this post right now and know what the correct term is, please won't you inform me.
Until then I'm staying away from all social gatherings that may include wonks or zigzags.