By Bill Derby
I have always insisted when our photographers take photos of people, the subjects should remove their sunglasses so our readers can see their eyes. I’ve always felt the eyes tell the story of a human being.
You can see happiness, fear, anxiety, anger, love, trust and truth when looking into someone’s eyes. A news story just recently proved my eye theories.
Last week I asked an eye doctor friend why my eyes watered and hurt while looking at the computer screen. He said, “Blink more often; you’re getting old.” In fact I need to blink now that I remember what he said.
I do remember during my school days I had just about all the eye symptoms listed below at one time or another.
My first recollection of eyeball response was when my mom told me, “If you don’t un-cross your eyes, they will grow that way!” I always admired Jerry Lewis’ ability to cross and un-cross his eyes at will. A valuable talent in his case.
Reaching puberty brings on a whole host of other challenges for a young man other than worrying about eye direction: twitch control, shifty eyes, squinting, narrowing, deer in the headlights and the peeking syndrome whereby you fake looking up but are looking elsewhere. Peeking is an art.
The news release listed these eye symptoms, causes and effects. I have added my own observations over the past 69 some years when I was old enough to know what I was looking at.
Pupil size – According to the experts, pupil size is important. Pupils constrict when under stress. When you see something you like or love they increase in size. In other words when the policeman asks you how fast you were going you get itty bitty little dot pupils whereas if you eat lunch at ‘Hooters’, you don’t!
Eye twitch – I had eye twitch once. Like to drove me crazy. Started to put a band aid over my eye. I always wondered what other people were thinking watching my eyelid banging up and down. The docs say it’s just a spasm. I don’t need any more spasms according to Judy. Could be caused by stress, caffeine or even alcohol. I’ve never put those things in my eye. Must be stress.
Shifty eyes – Ah, the shifty eyes my mom always told me about. She said to avoid anyone with the shifty eyes. I broke the rule once when I dated a girl with shifty eyes. Every time we came out of a 3-D Movie, that gal was looking every which way except at me. We broke up.
Blink rate – Did you ever have a friend in school you gave the nickname “Blinky” too? Why sure. We all had a “Blinky” friend. Blinky people tend to exaggerate, embellish and stretch the truth. Today, they are on TV just about every night. Some you may have heard of. Normal blink rate is eight to 21 per minute. Bill Clinton blinked over 92 times during his deposition. Nixon, well, you just couldn’t count that fast. However, constant blinkers are completely exempt while working on computers.
Eye blocking—Not sure what this is. But I think it’s when you completely cover your face and peek between your fingers. I’ve used that technique many times in the movie theatre looking between my fingers at something scary, bloody or political. You tend to grow out of this condition when a drive-in is showing an imported Swedish movie with blond actresses playing important roles.
Eye contact – Important in sales and love. Without eye contact just forget anything you are trying to accomplish in life. Walk around with your eyes looking down and it won’t take long to discover you need to look up occasionally. Sometimes, for a man, it is difficult to continue to keep a gaze at eye level. Men tend to look every which way when it comes to love. An old quote says it all… “The eyes are the window of the soul.” On the other hand, actor Jim Carrey said… “Behind every great man is a woman rolling her eyes.
Narrowed eyes – Absolutely a defense mechanism or if accused wrongly of some distasteful act. With narrowed eyes, I responded, “No, I didn’t leave the toilet seat up again.”
Arching eyebrows – This is something that must be learned. Steve Martin is pretty good at this feat. I have used the narrowed eye and arched eyebrow in extreme defense many times. “Who me? What are you talking about? Never heard of something that bad.” Can be used in a college philosophy course to fake out the professor but with a slow nod of the head for effect.
Wide open eyes – Another lesson my mom taught me. “Don’t go into anything without your eyes wide open.” It can be described as the “deer-in-the-headlights” syndrome as well. A technique used in many circumstances for surprise, happiness, or as a defense while standing behind a person who is guilty while looking in their direction. Slight head nod can be used here as well.
Eyes glazed over – It happened very often in first period psychology class during my first year of college after a late evening of study at the fraternity house. Could also happen on a date when you notice she is not interested in how fast your four-barrel carburetor drinks gas.