My mother has, by the way, had her follow-up eye exam and all looks good a few weeks back; she's very happy with waking up each morning to remember that she doesn't wear glasses anymore. A side point at the eye doctor's was that my father mentioned casually after her exam that, you know, he's wondered if maybe he should have his eyes examined since he's seen these dark patches where he looks. So he arranged for an appointment, and my mother and I spent a good deal of time trying very hard to not suggest that maybe he could avoid the darkness if he were to ever turn on any light, ever. So instead he spent the time between making the appointment and going to the appointment sulking about what could be turned up by the examination.
To turn things back to me: usually when I make a joke I have a pretty good idea how it's going to be received. This way I know when it's not worth repeating a quip that wasn't quite perfectly heard and I can usually get a bit of a lead working on a follow-up if there's room for one. But I'm still taken by surprise occasionally, and here was one. The night before the eye exam, I said to my father, ``I imagine the tough part will be going the twelve hours leading up to the exam without seeing anything.'' I rated this as at most worth a three-syllable chuckle, and most likely one and a half syllables. No: my father loved it, said it was really great, text-messaged it to my brother in California, and had me repeat it for my mother when she got home, and she liked it strongly too, and I think she passed it along to one of her college friends who happened to call that night.
Anyway, the results came in, and my father apparently has a glaucoma, a rare version that only a tiny slice of the population gets. He has, not unreasonably, been sulking about that. But it should be operable, or at least he says so -- he's been a bit jealous of my mother's eye surgery -- and there's no need to rush it. There's an eye-drop prescription he'll get soon and none of it seems too serious.
Trivia: Scotland's parliament voted 110 to 69 on 14 January 1707 to accept the Union with England. Source: How the Scots Invented the Modern World, Arthur Herman.
Currently Reading: The London Mob: Violence and Disorder in Eighteenth-Century England, Robert B Shoemaker.